ANTI-SOCIAL

5.5 out of 10

Release Date: 1st May 2015

Director: Reg Traviss (Screwed (2011) / Psychosis / Joy Division)

Cast: Josh Myers, Gregg Sulkin, Meghan Markle, Andrew Shim, Richie Campbell, Michael Maris, James Devlin, Caroline Ford, Sophie Colquhoun, Joseph Junior Adenuga, Aymen Hamdouchi, Giacomo Mancini, Maria Fernandez Ache, Sasha Frost, Lisa Moorish, Rob Knighton with Doug Allen and Christian Berkel

Writer: Reg Traviss

Trailer: ANTI-SOCIAL

Anti-Social-movie-poster

This action-thriller contains the world’s least convincing graffitti artist to protrayed in a film. Gregg Sulkin (SIXTY SIX) plays said non-artist, Dee, competently but he seems to have no creative input into the story as he just goes through the motions no matter where his unrealistic character takes him. The art world he wanders around in is one of lazy cliche and bad research. He seems to win favour and a commission through good luck rather than unique vision or even talent. With the majority of this film’s running time focussed on this drip rather than his criminal brothers ‘smash n’ grab’ gang you’ve got a film that’s doing wheelspins in the mud, but getting bogged down fast.

Anti-Social tells the story of two very different brothers (both described above). They both live in a council estate with their Mum who turns a blind eye to the older brother Marcus’s (JOSH MYERS – I AM SOLDIER) antics as long as he puts food on the table. The younger brother seems to be on the rise in the art world, he’s got a posh American girlfriend, Kirsten (MEGHAN MARKLE – SUITS). Meanwhile, Marcus’ relatively succesful top secret gang of jewel robbing bikers are making the move into drug dealing. They should have stuck to what they are good at because they get double-crossed by the rival gang led by Aymen Hamdouchi (MY BROTHER THE DEVIL).  They end up in hock to Doug Allen (WE ARE MONSTER), so they have to come up with a plot that won’t work without an extra man on the team. Who can they trust? Dee of course. But will Dee risk his commision in Berlin and put his family and girlfriend in harms way before he gets clear once and for all?

So here we have it, a potentially gripping action film, reasonably well made let down by a completely crap sub-plot that dwarfs the movie’s selling point.  Well acted by the entire cast of familiar faces, even mini-Craig Fairbrass, Josh Myers does very well in a well-cast role. It’s a frustrating near miss that is a lot of fun at times, if only it would have concentrated on the biker gang we’d have something more exciting to report. As it is, we’ve got a good film lumbered with a lame film.

5.5 out of 10 – Slickly made action film that’s saddled with a gigantically lame sub-plot.

Second review by Joe Pesci II below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “ANTI-SOCIAL

  1. REVIEW BY MATT ‘ANTI-SOCIAL’ USHER aka Joe Pesci II (you talking to me? not if we can help it!)

    A note to Reg Traviss, the auteur behind ANTI-SOCIAL: whatever you do, don’t put your main tough guy in a burqa, especially if he’s Josh Myers. Oh, too late. Still, as long as you don’t highlight this unintentional comedy moment (I think it’s unintentional) you should be OK. Just so long as you don’t do anything stupid like put your unintentionally comic shot of Josh Myers in a burqa onto, say, the menu page of the DVD. Oh well, never mind. For some this may be the highlight of the whole DVD. Indeed, you might as well put the disc in, look at the menu, see Josh do his burqa-garbed double take, laugh, and not bother with the actual film at all. But I guess some of you might be too technologically advanced for discs what with your phones and downloads, so you’ll just have to sit through the film itself.

    And it’s not the worst film in the world, which is always a surprise when it comes to low-budget British crime films, though not necessarily a bonus. And it’s certainly a film of two halves, and, more than that, it’s truly the sum of those two parts – both of them pretty non-descript.

    Our young hero, as played by nice but dull Gregg Sulkin, is a graffiti artist who is passionate about his art, who, for a while at least, refuses to sell out, believing in the purity of graffiti as an art form (I once saw some graffiti in Bournemouth University toilet: ‘graffiti is the purest art – discuss’) (though my favourite graffiti is from Brighton toilets where a Wookiee was looking for some Ewok lightsaber action or something) (I appear to have digressed which is easily done when looking for anything to say about a film as bland as this, but I’ve also inadvertently revealed that I’ve spent too much time reading toilet-based graffiti so I ought to delete all this). The film is at great pains to emphasise Sulkin’s humble lot in life: jobless, he lives with brother (Myers) and mum in a small flat, but the actor never convinces as anything other than a reasonably privileged middle-class white male. If I was being generous I might suggest that the film didn’t want to go down the obvious route of making him a rebellious angry young man, which would have been fair enough, except instead they forgot to give him any character at all, which is a bit remiss. Sulkin is perfectly adequate (and particularly good at doing ‘very scared and wimpish’ at the film’s underwhelming climax) but, for once, it’s Josh Myers who actually convinces as being from this particular background. Anyway, during the course of the film our graffiti artist’s money worries are alleviated by his moving in with an American fashion model, and then getting a cushy art job in Berlin. So any attempt the film might have made to be some sort of story about a working class lad striving to break through just turns into a fairly trite ‘that’s a bit of luck’ fairy tale. It’s almost as if this whole part of the plot was just an add-on to provide contrast with the equally under-thought-out jewel-heist part of the film, which I really should have mentioned earlier.

    So, yes, the melodramatic heart of the story (or the bits with the punch-ups and drugs in) is provided by the film’s other strand. Rent-a-lunk Josh Myers (who, I happily admit is on much better form here than in any of my previous encounters with him) plays our hero’s ne’er-do-well brother. He’s the leader of a gang of audacious thieves who are gadding about attacking jewellery stores by motorbike, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. But they’re basically a nice mob’ cos they don’t actually hurt anyone, they just threaten violence with hammers and stuff like that without actually hitting anyone so that’s OK. Unless they’re from rival gangs obviously, but that’s different.

    Then they start drug dealing, but they’re the world’s worst dealers, dumb enough to get their first ever ‘stash’ stolen by their sworn enemies, a ‘crew’ led by a comedy Asian man (I’m not sure if he was meant to be funny – judging by his later behaviour I think he was meant to be scarily arrogant). Gang warfare breaks out, violence escalates, our gang decide to do one last job and get out, but who can they turn to when one of their number is gunned down at the corner shop?

    And so the two story strands knit together in the final reel and it all ends happily as we find that crime pays and it’s OK to deceive your girlfriend who’ll understand even if she’s been almost raped to death because you’ve hidden drugs in her house and not bothered to tell her. (Unless it was a completely different girl at the end – might have been.)

    There might have been an interesting film (or two) here. But the storyline about the jewel thieves isn’t particularly interested in the jewel thieves. Ditto the sub-plot where they move into drugs and the sub-sub plot about the gang war. Meanwhile the graffiti/art storyline feels like it’s been written by someone with limited knowledge of both graffiti and art. So, when you put all that together you have a passable, pointless film which really wasn’t worth the trip to Budapest (ANTI-SOCIAL is a bit of a secret Europudding, though thankfully without Vinnie Jones). The best of the actors is Andrew Shim as a best pal who seems to be the only person to appear enthusiastic about being in front of the camera.

    Allegedly based on true events about some robbers ANTI-SOCIAL is another astonishingly average effort, enough to make me yearn for the extreme badness of the Tanter-Phillips stable, or even – heaven forefend! – for a good proper film. Actually ANTI-SOCIAL is like what a good Tanter film would be like if such a thing existed. Let that be its epitaph.

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