Dave (Frederick Schmidt) is a small time criminal living in London who is trying to move up in the family business. A job he does for his psychopathic uncle Jimmy (Martin Askew) goes horribly wrong due to Dave’s ambitions outweighing his intellect and understanding of the rules of the underworld game. Dave is drawn to the world of Islam to find some peace; nothing goes to plan.
Although the conceit of a young London geezer finding Islam to be a loving and embracing religion (for men) is interesting, the tone of the film otherwise feels somewhat dated. Based on the personal experiences of co-writer and actor Martin Askew it might have been wiser to give the film a proper 90s look and feel; I kept checking references to try and work out when it was supposed to be set.
Frederick Schmidt gives an outstanding performance as Dave. I would have liked to see more of Aymen Hamdouchi as his best friend Tariq; in order to establish their relationship and add emotional weight to the ensuing tragic events.
The black and white shoot and a menacing soundtrack adds atmosphere but there were sequences which dragged and the tension was lost. This is a very male-centric film; the few women we encounter are hookers and snitches, and of course we see none at the mosque where they are segregated.
For a debut feature this shows promise and although I can see the intentions of the film maker they didn’t always hit the mark. One for the geezers amongst you.
Read my interview with the director Andrew Hulme here.