6 out of 10

Release Date: 22 June 2012

Director: Alex Pillai

Cast: Ashley Chin, Michael Maris, Ashley Madekwe, Jason Maza,  Anna Nightengale, Letitia Wright, Jenny Jules, Arnold Oceng, Jordie Meya, Shanika Markland-Warren, Natasha Sparks, Jamie Davies, Ritchie Campbell, Gary Mavers, Sebastian Street with Nick Nevern, Frank Harper, Adam Deacon and David Harewood

Writer: Ashley Chin & Michael Maris

Trailer: VICTIM

Eat the rich!  That seems to be one of the messages Victim broadcasts.  A robin-hood gang led by Tyson (ASHLEY CHIN – ANUVAHOOD) set up rich male clubbers by fixing them up with complicit girls.  On arrival at the mark’s house, the gang break in and raid their safes for all their goodies.  So far so entertaining.  What is difficult to follow is how we’re meant to accept that this is OK because our hero is essentially a good man, who does bad things.  Left to bring up his younger sister, Nyla (LETITIA WRIGHT – TOP BOY) when he was 16 and she was 11 by a gambling, drunk of a mother, the only way for Tyson to make ends meet is by masterminding ever more risky smash and grabs against the city’s monied.  He’s almost settled his mother’s huge gambling debt through his life of crime and can embark on a crime free life so he can concentrate his efforts on the good start in life that’s so far eluded him. So we’re asked  to accept that stealing money from the hardworking rich is Okey doke. It’s a good job there is so much to recommend about this little film.

Like life itself, there is no black and white.  Bad people do good things too and there’s no end of conflict or even plot in Victim‘s slender running time.  On top of Tyson’s story arc, we have Tia (ASHLEY MADEKWE), rich cousin to Davina (ANNA NIGHTENGALE) who is a member of Tyson’s gang.  Tia has just begun university, leaving a distraught posh boyfriend (JAMIE DAVIS) behind. She has a positive influence on Tyson, although this is probably the least convincing part, due to a slight running time and oodles of plot lines, so they begin a courtship.  The jealous Davina sets in motion a chain of events that prove disastrous for a number of the crew.  Add into the mix the reappearance of Tyson’s mum (JENNIE JULES – THE MAN INSIDE) and the day to day madness at school for Nyla and the class outcast, Victor (JORDY MEYA).

The film is highly ambitious in the sheer number of characters the plot-line juggles.  It’s quite understandable that several characters never get fleshed out.  We are rushed through a violent relationship, gang member Jason Maza (ANUVAHOOD) has with his older brother (NICK NEVERN – THE SWEENEY MOVIE).  We haven’t even touched upon Michael Maris’ (ANUVAHOOD) Jason yet, the bad breed of the gang.  That the writers pull this together into a coherent story for the most part is a credit to them. But it all comes undone with an ending which comes out of left field yet doesn’t work.  We really want to know what happens next and instead of coming to a head the film stops abruptly.  I appreciate the effective and heartfelt poem that is read out over the ending montage sequence but it raises questions about the other characters’ fates. Maybe Victim was originally envisioned as a television series because we seem to be getting started in some areas and rushing to an ending for others.  For instance, Tyson’s mother’s fate is left hanging, a simmering feud between Jason and a rival (RITCHIE CAMPBELL – ANUVAHOOD) never gets going, will Victor ever escape bully Jayden’s (ARNOLD OCENG – MY BROTHER THE DEVIL) shadow, where does the shocking ending leave our anti-hero?

There is too much left unresolved for this not to have a sequel.  They have assembled an interesting universe with that rare thing in this genre, heart.  You want this bad boy to leave his life of crime behind. You want Nyla to succeed at school, you don’t want Victor to travel down the road that so many young people do in his situation. It’s about breaking the cycle of violence but it has no answers. Like life I suppose.  An extra half an hour running time may have given some oxygen to some of the intrigue.  I was left wanting more.

6 out of 10 – Well acted, densely plotted, seemingly unfinished crime drama.  Better than the average but boy does it need a sequel to wrap it all up.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s