10 out of 10
Release Date: 20th July 2010
Cast: Robert Hill, Julia Deakin, Robin Hill, David Schaal, Tony Way, Kerry Peacock, Mark Kempner, Gareth Tunley and Michael Smiley
Writer: Ben Wheatley & Robin Hill
Trailer: DOWN TERRACE
Here comes one of the best films you’ve never heard of. Before the criminally underrated Kill List came this Brighton set crime thriller with a difference, Down Terrace. Bill (ROBERT HILL) is the head of crime family who run several Brighton clubs and the drug traffic they generate. His son, real life son, Karl (ROBIN HILL – THE BORDERLANDS) has just been released from jail after a trumped up charge that indicates there is a rat very close by. Various associates come by their ordinary terrace house to pay their respects and say hello. Events turn sinister when the general paranoia escalates. The rat is buried deep and it literally could be anyone.
What makes Down Terrace unique is the approach. The script is so realistic yet humorous. Deftly sketching this family as a likeable yet homicidal brood sets this apart from the legions of British gangster films. It’s like Mike Leigh sat down to write a crime thriller but this is probably better than even he could do. The cast is a broad mixture of familiar faces from TV and life long friends of the director and the performances are seemless. As the body count rises the laughter becomes more and more hollow. There are amazingly inventive quirks. Bill enjoys afternoons playing folk music with a local band in his living room, low rent assassin, Chris Pringle (MICHAEL SMILEY – OUTPOST) has babysitter problems, Karl’s girlfriend Valda (KERRY PEACOCK) is pregnant but no one has the brains to count up the months he was away and the months until its arrival. The mother (JULIA DEAKIN – DANCING THRU’ THE DARK) as expected is probably the hardest out of the lot and proves to be the backbone of this headless chicken of a gang but ultimately she has no doubt where her loyalties lie.
Essentially set in one house with a clutch of outdoor scenes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more involving comedy drama. Its hard to choose whether this or Kill List is the more accomplished but either way it certainly shows that his follow up was no fluke. Sightseers is due next month (at the time of writing) and he’s already working on a English Civil War ghost story called A Field In England.
Spread the word. Ben Wheatley is an amazing British talent. On a side note it would be nice to see Mr Hill sr. and jr. again in his new films. They both have very fleeting cameoes in Kill List but that’s not enough for this particular fan.
10 out of 10 – Hilarious, well written and superbly acted and plotted from beginning to end. The best British gangster since Sexy Beast. Then along came last year’s equally excellent but different Kill List. Which is best? You tell me.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Robert Hill: Kill List
- Julia Deakin: High-Rise, Holby City (TV), The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, Dancin’ Thru’ The Dark, Spaced (TV)
- Robin Hill: The Borderlands, The ABCs of Death
- David Schaal: The Inbetweeners 2, The Inbetweeners Movie, The Inbetweeners (TV)
- Tony Way: Mindhorn, Trespass Against Us, Identicals, Aaaaaaaah!, High-Rise, Convenience, The Riot Club, The Edge of Tomorrow, Sightseers, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012)
- Mark Kempner: The World’s End, Kill List
- Gareth Tunley: The Ghoul (dir), Bill, Kill List
- Michael Smiley: The Devil Went Down To Islington, Birthmarked, Jawbone, Free Fire, Tank 432, Orthodox, The Aliens (TV), The Hallow, The Lobster, Luther (TV), Glassland, Black Sea, We Are The Freaks, Svengali, For Those In Peril, The World’s End, A Field In England, The ABCs of Death, Shell, Kill List, Burke & Hare, Down Terrace, Outpost, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Spaced (TV)