4 out of 10

Released: 28th October 2011

Director: Nirpal Bhogal

Cast:  Aimee Kelly, Emma Hartley-Miller, Riann Steele, Lily Loveless, Adelayo Adedayo, Varadu Sethu, RIchie Campbell, Ashley Chin, Michael Maris and Ashley Walters

Writer: Nirpal Bhogal

Trailer: SKET

Sket is one of those films I really hoped that I would like. It gives a fresh perspective on the current crop of films about gang culture and our disenfranchised and media-demonised youth.  Aside from this being about a female gang as opposed to either a male or mixed gender group, there is little else to recommend about this revenge flick.  A young lass from Newcastle falls in with a group of girls after moving down to London with her older sister. Her sister is swiftly dispatched to the morgue after a badly timed tussle with the local top-boy played by Ashley Walters (BULLET BOY) promptly setting in motion a tit for tat war between the two factions.  Performances are generally uneven. The girl gang are wooden and unconvincing on the whole so the heavy work is largely left to Riann Steele as Ashley Walters abused but steely girl and Walters himself, who gives his character no light. Its a shame because he is a talented guy with many levels but here the script affords him no depth. He is a thug and that’s all there is too it.

I wish I could think of more to write about this predictable and heartless little film but I can’t. Usually I can recommend a film like this for strong performances or a nice script but the dialogue here is often leaden and badly delivered. The only acting on show is left to the supporting cast.  The soundtrack is made up of stale Dubstep and Grime, ie; The Streets is played over a sad scene at one stage, that’s how lame this film gets.  It’s now quite Dead Cert-bad, it’s just dare I say it as a reviewer, boring. Sorry.

Oh yeah, a ‘Sket’ is derogatory name for a bad girl in case you were wondering.

2 out 10 – Girl Power has never been so dull.  Wasted opportunity to highlight an fresh angle.




One thought on “SKET


    Now, I admit I’ve lived something of a sheltered, reasonably privileged life. I’ve only had to sleep rough once in my life, and that was all Brit Pic Dick’s fault. So Sket was something of an eye-opener. It really showed me what it was like out there, right now, on the streets, where life is cheap and skets get shanked, and you either fight back or give up. Here are a few of the things I learned from Sket.

    Being a member of a girl gang is really cool. You get to take drugs and beat men up. To indicate that you’re in a gang you should barge into people who are walking past you. If they don’t get the message, kill them. You also seem to have no money worries. Girl gangs are encouragingly ethnically diverse, though they do have quite high standards for membership. If you can meet those criteria (basically by stealing money and beating people up) you may be accepted into the group but you absolutely must have some sort of tragic backstory to rely on. It’s a bit like The X Factor I imagine.

    Young people today have terrible taste in music.

    Swearing Geordies are always funny.

    Sleeping on the streets will not mess up your hair or your clothes, even if you’re wearing a really bright red hoodie because the director is trying to manufacture an unsuccessful Little Red Riding Hood metaphor. ‘You look like shit’ a shanked sket tells our heroine after she’s spent several nights out alone following the murder of her sister. Except she doesn’t, she looks as shiny as a button.

    Iron bars aren’t as dangerous as you might think. You can brutally hit a man repeatedly with one and yet still fail to render him unconscious, let alone dead.

    Black male drug dealers run slowly and are rubbish at killing vulnerable teenage girls with really distinctive red jackets, and shout ‘stop’ at them when they want to kill them but have run out of puff.

    Even if a black male drug dealer has got hold of a sket and has kicked her repeatedly for some time as hard as he can, she will still be able to get up soon afterwards and return to her daily routine without too much difficulty and no internal bleeding or broken bones.

    Never tell someone to stop beating someone else up. They will kill you. (I think we knew this one already really.)

    Never shank a sket. Well, it’s good if some skets are shanked, because that way they can join gangs and then proceed to wreak revenge on the shankers.

    Alas, these are surely not the lessons the film wanted me to learn. Surely the film should have filled me with a deep sense of rage, is it not a cry of anger from the streets? I appreciate that the film-makers may have wanted to avoid being preachy or sentimental, or suggest that there are easy answers, but if anything the film seems to suggest that violent retribution and psychotic over-reaction is a really good form of grief-therapy. Obviously, I’m not the target audience for Sket, so I do wonder what the real target audience made of it.

    One thing I did not learn from this film is what precisely a ‘sket’ is. Subsequent research has enlightened me (I’m not telling, look it up for yourself if you don’t know) and I am even more perplexed than before. For there is nowhere any skettishness on view. If these girls really are skets we must just see them on their days off in this film. It’s very bizarre. You wouldn’t call a film ‘Thug’ and then not show thuggishness. Perhaps it’s all meant to be ironic, or maybe it’s a subject area which is all too messy and ambiguous and troubling for a film which is ultimately a rather drab revenge drama.

    Maybe I’m being picky, but Sket seems to be trying to say ‘this is what it’s like’ without having the guts to actually say what it’s like. Yes, we see innumerable punch-ups but what about the aftermath? Where are the ill-effects of addiction? Where are the battered bodies? Where is the sense of wasted, futile lives? Where is the condemnation of greed and gluttony? Why is this film not angry?

    It wouldn’t matter if this was just some sort of cheap and cheerful moronic popcorn movie, but I get the feeling it wants to be taken seriously, but the director seems more interested in being flashy than in taking an interest in the characters and making us care about them.

    Emma Hartley Miller as the leading yob and Aimee Kelly as the new girl on the mean streets are impressive but some of the supporting players are bland rather than weak. Ashley Walters doesn’t seem particularly interested in anything much and doesn’t even really make it to one-dimensional villainy. I did wonder if this was so that we didn’t take a shine to the murdering, raping, drug-dealing bad boy as we so often are, but then decided that Walters was just turning in a bad performance. It’s reasonably well put together and edited, and the music is appropriate if awful but it’s also slow and predictable.

    It’s meant to be realistic, but isn’t. And the moral seems to be: if you’re a girl who’s having a hard time, join a gang and kick some people half to death and feel better. Thanks.

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