1.5 out 10

Release Date: 1st October 2012

Director: David Kew & Neil Thompson

Cast: Parminder Nagra, Jonas Armstrong, Michael Socha, Kaya Scodelario, Gregg Chillin, Nichola Burley, Sebastian Nanena, Bhasker Patel, Pal Aron, Melanie Hill, Alex Lanipekun with Kierston Wareing and Stephen Dillane

Writer: James Dowdall & Paul Abbott

Trailer: TWENTY8K

Plot Spoiler alert***

Enter the dumbest detective story I’ve seen in decades, Twenty8K.  The number of implausibilities outnumber anything resembling reality at an alarming ratio.  This is one of those annoying thrillers written by people that haven’t even taken the time to do a minutes research. Police procedural is ignored, continuity errors are legion and the true villain of the piece is easy to spot despite massive efforts to conceal their identity.  A heroine with no background in investigations comes across like Alex Cross and has the uncanny ability to open doors without keys, turn invisible by screwing her eyes shut and can travel across London in seconds.  Damn this was crap.  Right to the plot.

Deeva (PARMINDER NAGRA – BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM) returns from her fashion designer job in Paris to give her family support when her younger brother, Vipon (SEBASTIAN NANENA) gets arrested for murdering a fellow gang member.  Club owner, Ricky (GREGG CHILLIN – accidentally tapes the shooting but won’t come forward with the truth because it endangers his drug selling trade links. The police have their own reasons for keeping Vipon locked up on a trumped up charge. Various plot knots involving high level police doubling as pimps and a blackmail plot entangling Vipon’s girlfriend (KAYA SCODELARIO – WUTHERING HEIGHTS).  Police boss, Stephen Dillane (44 INCH CHEST) and drug king pin, Danny (MICHAEL SOCHA – THIS IS ENGLAND) will do anything to stop Deeva’s incessant and dogmatic investigating.  Bodies pile up and Deeva faces the likelihood that her brother is going to go down for a crime he never committed.  She only has one friend who believes in her and that’s the suspiciously underused but second-billed Jonas Armstrong (ROBIN HOOD: TV) who shows up as the manager of the Youth Centre.  He also happens to live a mansion designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and drives a sports car with doors that go up.  Oh yeah, who is the mysterious figure in a cloak and goggles seen at the scene of the shooting and at a later hit and run?  Scratch your chin hair.  I kept on wishing, Ricky would just blow the whistle and submit the footage to the newspaper but no he doesn’t.  Doors get kicked in by Deeva, a fat security guard gets tricked with fake eyelash batting (twice), she can find hospital records in seconds on unprotected computers (no passwords???). And so it goes without feeling the need to entertain or thrill at any turn.  I’ve never seen a more lacklustre detective mystery. Accomplished actors go through the motions but it’s yet another example of a wasted opportunity.

1.5 out of 10 – It gets 1.5 for some committed performances but this film is ill-thought out. Badly plotted and beyond boring. Did a well connected 8 year old write this? I think the screenplay may have been written in crayon and felt-tips. Lazy and plain dog sh*t.



One thought on “TWENTY8K

  1. This is a sorry tale of corruption, blackmail and vice. Briefly, the drug trade is controlled by dodgy policeman Stephen Dillane, who is also in charge of a teenage prostitute ring with some very important clients. Meanwhile, on the streets, gang members are being gunned down and prostitutes are being run over.

    TWENTY8K is the name of a gang of young south London based drug-dealers. They are a particularly stupid bunch, and they’ve all got TWENTY8K tattooed onto their arms in case they forget which gang they belong to. But PREGNANT WOMAN SYNDROME strikes as one of the gang shoots a pregnant woman (obviously she had to be pregnant; innocent wasn’t enough; see BASEMENT and numerous others for further uses of this objectionable plot device). The police have to clean up. So, dodgy Dillane organises the shooting of one of the gang members so that the council will approve a building development. (Because the great and the good will want to be seen as doing good for a bad area you see, particularly with the Olympics on their merry way.) And that way they can get someone jailed for the PWS shooting without having to try too hard. And who better to frame for the shootings than the member of the gang who just happens to be involved in blackmailing the clients of the teenage prostitution ring that just happens to be run by dodgy Dillane? So someone shoots a gang member dead. The gang leader then hands the gun to dumb Vip (Sebastian Nanena) to get rid of. The little idiot runs off, waving the gun to all and sundry, and is charged with the murder. But who really pulled the trigger?

    Vip is innocent but there’s only one person who believes in him: big sister Deeva (Parminder Nagra), busy fashion-designing in Paris. She arrives in London with a big bag in tow and sets about investigating the case. (I know this is pathetic but the bag annoyed me so much; it’s just a big, probably fashionable handbag which she just drags around all the time.) She contacts reformed ex-gang member (and ex-boyfriend) Jonas Armstrong. He knows nothing but is happy to help. He doesn’t act suspiciously at all. No. By the end of his first scene you don’t for a moment think ‘it was him’. Well, actually you do, and you’d be right. If you haven’t worked out that he’s the killer by the end of the scene you shouldn’t be watching films yet.

    Anyway plucky Parminder (I refuse to call her feisty – did you know that word actually means a small dog?) sets about looking for clues, which she turns out to be really good at. In fact, you have to wonder if she’s really a designer at all. The only proof is that she keeps talking about having a show opening in Paris, and she insists on carrying that big bag around. Anyway, our feisty heroine soon tricks a security guard into showing her some security footage which she then steals and hands over to the dodgy policeman. Why she does this we don’t know. She could have just asked the security guard to make a copy and handed it over to the solicitor. Elsewhere we find her accessing medical records (a priceless moment), overhearing vitally important conversations, emptying hotels with a fake fire alarm and generally behaving like someone who’s watched far too many films about plucky, feisty private detectives.

    She works out that the real murderer is disguised with goggles and an anorak and drives a Mondeo. The scene where she’s at Armstrong’s house and finds a car key labelled ‘Mondeo’ is funny, but not as funny as the subsequent shot where he’s hiding the anorak and goggles.

    There are a few plusses: Ricky the drug dealer seems to be a decent character. And the dog doesn’t die. And Deeva’s family are funny. And best of all is the thrilling montage sequence in which she papers a wall with all her findings and maps and notes and photos and evidence. She even uses string.

    Plot holes large and small abound. The pregnant woman was shot by an Asian, who turned out to be white. Kaya Scodelario just happens to manage to videotape her own death. Deeva escapes from a house with her big bag, even though she didn’t have it when she was climbing out of the window. Everyone seems to know everyone else: Dillane is having an affair with Kierston Wareing, who just happens to be gang-leader Michael Socha’s mum and Scodelario’s boss. Why doesn’t Ricky do the right thing and send the incriminating evidence to someone right away? And why is Nichola Burley’s name above the credits?

    The film has the look of an average TV cop show. As for the actors, quite a few are lucky to be underused. Kaya Scodelario turns up, looks pretty and perturbed, dies. Kierston Wareing makes the most of what little she’s given. Burley is dreadful and miscast. Derek Riddell oozes oil as an objectionable and quietly ambitious policeman. Dillane and Armstrong go through the motions. I liked Gregg Chillin as Ricky the dopey drug dealer with the answer on his phone. Michael Socha was his usual self. It’s difficult to care for Sebastian Nanena as the wrongly accused boy, partly because he doesn’t seem much interested himself. But teenage boys never do, so maybe he was better than I thought. As for Parminder Nagra, well, she is saddled with such a hopelessly unconvincing character, and that annoying bag, that I couldn’t taker her seriously.

    Maybe this is meant to be a secret socialist film. At the high end of society are the businessmen and the figures of authority who leech off those less fortunate than themselves; in this instance the unemployed youths who find themselves in gangs or dragged into prostitution. The rich make the rules up to suit themselves and use them to ensnare those at the bottom of society, which is particularly easy if the victims happen to bee non-white. If only the film made any sense, or was in any way angry about its own message then we might care. I guess the film was meant to ask ‘what will the Olympics do for us?’ but a better question might be ‘why waste 106 minutes watching TWENTY8K’?

    When I informed the editor of this site that I had seen TWENTY8K he asked me what it was, in spite of the fact that he has himself written a damning (yet accurate) review of it. That’s a fitting tribute to this film’s relentless blandness.

    Review By Joe Pesci II – just don’t stay ‘home alone’ with him….

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