4 out of 10
Release Date: 1st October 2012 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Simon Phillips (The Last Scout)
Cast: Nick Nevern, Kellie Shirley, Jenna Harrison, Peter Barrett, Roland Manookian, Mark Cooper Harris, Charlie Bond, Lorraine Stanley, Merveille Lukeba, Thomas Worthington with Con O’Neill and Steven Berkoff
Writer: James Crow & Simon Phillips
Nick Nevern (RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN) plays a cop on the edge called Damien. London plays a city on the edge. GBH is perhaps the earliest but it certainly won’t be the best film about the 2011 London Riots. Coming across as a countdown to armageddon, we shadow our anti-hero on his beat as he doles out a conflicted form of justice that is a concocted blend of “doing the right thing” and downright vigilantism. His new partner, WPC Louise (KELLIE SHIRLEY – EASTENDERS) has issues of her own, with an ex-cop father (Con O’Neill – DANCING THRU’ THE DARK) crippled by a run in with football hooligans. Much of the conflict comes from Damien’s shady past as an over-active member of a football firm himself. He still drinks with former associates including Peter Barrett and Roland Manookian (both also co-stars of Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan) who expect to operate above the law and have Damien wipe their slates clean. Encounters with bullied school boys, sick pimps, feral rapists, crowd mentality and wife beaters eventually tip our man over the edge when he is implicated in the single event-catalyst that kicks off this film’s version of the London Riots.
The film would be easier to accept if had been executed with any finesse and showcased any convincing performances. Luckily, we’re not quite in the same terrible territory as the Jack Trilogy or Dead Cert, but what we have here is a pretty clunky, confused film. As confusing as the riots themselves the film piles incident upon incident upon Damien and Louise. The two contrasting police officers end up becoming lovers but there’s no honeymoon period here. As packed as a copper’s day probably is, the story becomes hard to follow and some very tired and over-used gimmicks like time-lapse photography and fly overs of the London streets only serve to irritate rather than dazzle. What is most disappointing is Nick Nevern‘s performance. He has proved to be a reliable and exciting actor to watch in most of his previous films, whether being in the lead or a supporting role. So I’m sad to report that he’s been miscast here. He’s met his current limit. His off-kilter and uneven performance here is probably down to other factors like a ropey script, a plot that chops and changes his emotions dragging him back and forth between situations and bad direction. The first time director is Simon Phillips (AIRBORNE), a prolific actor and producer on the British Independent Film scene. His directorial style is anonymous and it lacks any original flare. Perhaps, like his acting, he will improve. What could have been an engrossing character study with social commentary largely comes across as an exploitation flick and nothing more.
4 out of 10: What we have here is an episode of The Bill with ambition. But it is let down by some embarrassing over-acting (spitting and foaming at the mouth – yes that’s you Con O’Neill, doesn’t mean you’re delivering a good performance! Is it the fashion for actors to do this? He’s not the only one.) and a stretched Nick Nevern. There is a pile of confusing story lines, flat direction and a dead script. As pedestrian as a beat cop. It’s not the worst film out by a long chalk though. But it had an open goal of an opportunity and it swung wide. Way wide of the mark.
JOE PESCI’s review of GBH – a new slant on a brave but flat and misguided film
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Nick Nevern: Fanged Up, Sexy Bizness, Spring, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, The Hooligan Factory, The Hooligan Wars, Vendetta, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Outpost 2, The Rise Of a White Collar Hooligan, Victim, The Sweeney Movie, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Terry
- Kellie Shirley: Shame The Devil, Run For Your Wife, The Grind, Baseline, Eastenders (TV)
- Jenna Harrison: Magnificent Eleven
- Peter Barrett: Devil’s Tower, The Hooligan Factory, Shame The Devil, The Hooligan Wars, Essex Boys Retribution, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, UFO (2013), The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan , Airborne (2012), Ghosted, Jack Falls
- Roland Manookian: London Heist, No Reason, GBH, Piggy, The Rise and Fall Of The White Collar Hooligan, Just For The Record, Devil’s Playground, Rock-N-Rolla, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Grow Your Own, The Business, The Football Factory, Goodbye Charlie Bright
- Mark Cooper Harris: The Crypt, Bonded By Blood 2, The Coven, Abducted, The Hooligan Factory, Offender, The Holding, Outside Bet
- Charlie Bond: Art Ache, The Curse of the Witching Tree, Vendetta, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Strippers Vs. Werewolves
- Merveille Lukeba: Skins (TV)
- Lorraine Stanley: A Hundred Streets, Suffragette, Legend (2015), The Guvnors, The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, The Hooligan Wars, He Who Dares, Essex Boys Retribution, Made In Dagenham, Cass, London To Brighton
- Con O’Neill: Telstar, The Kid (2010), Bedrooms & Hallways, Dancing Thru The Dark
- Steven Berkoff: London Heist, Rise of the Footsoldier 2, North V South, We Still Kill The Old Way, Red 2, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US), 44 Inch Chest, The Tourist, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, The Big I Am, Steal, Rancid Aluminium, Fair Game (1994), Decadence, The Krays, Beverly Hills Cop, McVicar, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange