out of Five
Running time: 87
This British urban youth thriller isn’t anything new, but is still an authentic and thought-provoking piece of gritty drama with energetic performances and a solid script.
What’s it all about?
Directed by Alex Pillai, Victim tells the hard-hitting story of Tyson (Ashley Chin), a young man who has grown accustomed to a life of crime in providing for his 16 year old sister, Nyla (Letitia Wright) and himself. Along with his two friends, Mannie (Jason Maza) and Jason (Michael Maris), Tyson and co. make a living by using their female friends as bait to lure in rich men, before violently breaking into their plush homes to rob them of their belongings.
But when pretty country girl, Tia (Ashley Madekwe) arrives, Tyson soon realises that there are other ways to live and becomes determined to escape the cycle of inner city poverty and street crime. However, when his mother, an alcoholic gambler, breaks into his home and robs him of everything he has, Tyson is forced to take part in one last job.
Co-written by two actors from its leading cast (Michael Maris and Ashley Chin), Victim is an authentic, yet non-judgemental portrayal of urban city life that’s incredibly watchable. The main characters are likeable enough and although they have criminally acquired a lifestyle where flashy cars and designer shoes can never cost too much, the gritty backdrop of a council estate reminds us of the harsh realism haunting their triumphs.
Overall, the script and energetic performances are solid. Chin is impressive and convincing both when he’s aggressively violent and endearingly brotherly, and Wright also holds her own as the easily led Nyla, especially in the final scene, where she pens a self-written poem with an underlying message to her classmates, which leaves a lasting impact.
Having said that, despite some touching moments, the finale’s events are poorly supported, a little unnecessary and entirely predictable, shedding light on the fact that overall, Victim lacks in original material (the echoes of Adulthood and Kidulthood are palpable). Adam Deacon’s unsurprising cameo appearance (his entire one-minute performance conveniently almost fitting into the trailer) also looks like a lazy attempt to lure in audiences, which quite frankly, it didn’t need to do.
Despite its oft used storyline, Victim is still an impressive and authentic portrayal of London’s gritty poverty stricken lives, presented well by its leading cast’s energetic performances. Worth seeing.