DVD Review: Ill Manors
Ill Manors is an interesting, high octane British gang thriller that is pretty hard to describe. It’s almost a gangster-rap-musical, with writer/director Ben Drew using rap-songs and frenetic visual to segue between jumps in the ‘plot.’ It’s an interesting move by Ben and works surprisingly well, especially as the lyrics don’t pull any punches and use the same colourful language that is liberally littered throughout the film proper.
The thing that doesn’t work is when Ben utilizes different visual approaches to different parts of the film.
The film is set in London, and is as bleak as they come. Following the lives of a variety of nefarious individuals, Ill Manors takes a very gritty approach to showing the viewer that you are what you are, a product of your environment, your upbringing, your neighborhood. When drug dealing and violence is all you know, then drug dealing and violence is what you do.
Ill Manors however, does have rays of light, just bright enough to cut through the oppressive no hope darkness that pervades the film, the first glimmer of illumination is from the social worker who looks after Aaron, well at least tries to keep him on the straight and narrow. Instatutionalised foster homes come in for a bad name, but also the by product of these home shows some redemption for one of the main characters, and the film thankfully shows that no matter your circumstance, it’s your choices that decide who you’re going to be.
Ill Manors will not be an easy film for some to watch, it’s violent, full of hopelessness, and has little in the way of redeeming features, but it grabs you, and drags you in the same was a nasty accident forces you to slow down and take a look as you drive past. It has characters who you’ll feel for and want desperately to find a better life, as well as those you’d rather come to an unhappy ending. It’s a finely crafted thrill ride through the depths of hell, and will open your eyes to just how good your life actually is.
Rating: R18: Violence, offensive language, drug use & sex scenes.