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
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.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Ashley Chin: The Intent, Snow In Paradise, Gone Too Far, Plastic, Starred Up, Anuvahood, Cherry Tree Lane
- Michael Maris: Anti-Social, Gone Too Far, Anuvahood, Zebra Crossing
- Ashley Madekwe: Revenge (TV), Secret Diary Of a Call Girl (TV)
- Jason Maza: Brotherhood, Angel (2015), #Legacy, The Hooligan Factory, Traveller, Little Deaths, Get Lucky, Welcome To The Punch, The Knot, Truth or Dare, The Man Inside (2012), Outside Bet, Demons Never Die, Anuvahood, Ten Dead Men, Fish Tank, Shifty, Rise Of The Footsoldier
- Anna Nightengale: Abducted
- Shanika Markland-Warren: Gone Too Far, Demons Never Die, 4-3-2-1
- Ritchie Campbell: Anti-Social, Montana, Get Lucky, Fast Girls, Anuvahood, The Firm (2009), Wilderness
- Letitia Wright: My Brother The Devil, Top Boy (TV)
- Nick Nevern: Fanged Up, Spring, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, The Hooligan Factory, The Hooligan Wars, Vendetta, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, GBH,Outpost 2, The Rise Of a White Collar Hooligan, Turnout, The Sweeney Movie, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Terry
- Sebastian Street: Tomorrow (2015), Kill Kane, Age of Kill, Airborne (2012), The Age Of Heroes, Jack Falls, The Last Seven, Stag Night of the Dead
- Jenny Jules: The Man Inside (2012)
- Arnold Oceng: The Good Lie, It’s a Lot, My Brother The Devil
- Jamie Davies: Hex (TV)
- Gary Mavers: Aux , Emmerdale (TV), Dead of The Nite, Viking – The Darkest Day, The Magnificent Eleven, Devil’s Bridge, SNUB!, Peak Practice (TV), Casualty (TV), Blonde Fist,
- Frank Harper: St George’s Day, Screwed (2011), Streetdance, Just For The Record, Rise Of The Footsoldier, This Is England, The Football Factory, The Calcium Kid, Bend It Like Beckham, Club Du Monde, South West 9, Lucky Bright, Goodbye Charlie Bright, Shiner, Kevin & Perry Go Large, A Room For Romeo Brass, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, TwentyFourSeven
- Adam Deacon: To Dream, Montana, Babylon (TV), Comedown, Outside Bet, Payback Season, AnuvaHood, Bonded By Blood, Shank, Jack Falls, Everywhere + Nowhere, 4-3-2-1, Adulthood, Kidulthood, Wilderness
- David Harewood: Tulip Fever, Grimsby, Superbob, Spooks – The Greater Good, Homeland (TV), The Hot Potato, The Man Inside (2012), Blood Diamond, The Hawk, Mad Dogs and Englishmen