Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and ...
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Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and with his family about to turn their back on him for good, Shifty must out-run and out-smart a rival drug dealer intent on setting him up for a big fall. As his long time friend Chris confronts the dark past he left behind him, Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he's hurtling towards.
I'm pretty bored of gritty drug dramas, but thankful that I didn't pass this one up.
In short the film follows the day in the life of a dealer: Shifty and his best friend Chris.
Chris left Shifty high and dry and made a break for Manchester after a tragic event. And the beginning of the film sees his return to make reparations with his old friend. Chris used to be a dealer but is slowly building a future for himself. Shifty sells drugs. He earns plenty of money and is a slave to the job - but he's not living a champagne lifestyle or snorting his wares. Instead he's living a meagre existence. Travelling by foot to do drops and living with his brother Rez - under the pretence that he's a little lost and hopeless - which is wearing a little thin on his close family.
In the following 24 hours, Chris tags alongside Shifty. Chris is witness to a pick up, some drops and the desperation of addiction while walking his old haunts. He advices Shifty to get out while he can. Both Chris and Shifty have some unresolved issues but their bondage triumphs. We see the scars, torment and betrayal wrought from both dealers and users, especially to those closest to them.
The film is neither overtly violent, nor does it glorify drug use, or drug careers. Quite the opposite. There's a few small laughs thrown in. It is not a laugh a minute like Adam and Paul, Trainspotting or Pulp Fiction. It is however a little uncomfortable to watch, mainly because it's depressingly familiar. I found myself wishing the characters out of their dead end and empty lives.
Sadly I couldn't find any love in my heart for Shifty, wanting to see some morsel of remorse for his crimes. On the other hand Chris I forgave early on. Both Chris and Rez were both likable.
I can't help but like Daniel Mays, his face is just fantastic. Nitin Ganatra is wonderful and Riz Ahmed is flawless. I'm not sure if the film could have worked without any of them. I'd like to see them all in something a little more jolly!
This can't have been the easiest script to act, but all parties do so with aplomb. Great pace, great cast, great shots - a cohesive love laboured piece of artistry.
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