Streetcrawlers. Rage, G and T (Ayers, Parkes and Pickard) roam the streets of South London in search of a plan...


dir-scr Newton I Aduaka
with Fraser Ayres, John Pickard, Shaun Parkes, Shango Baku, Wale Ojo, Rebecca Ella, Alison Rose, Ewart James Walters, Nina Badem-Sember, Sheridan MacDonald, Gary Ross, Norman Roberts
release UK 12.Jan.01
99/UK 1h30 2 out of 5 stars
Perhaps Britain's first hip-hop movie, Rage is a micro-budget examination of innercity London life from the perspective of three teenagers with high hopes ... and no chance. It's very rough around the edges, and not particularly well made, but it does have a certain raw charm about it. Jamie, Thomas and Godwin (Ayers, Pickard and Parkes) are united in only one thing: The desire to make a record. Otherwise they're completely different: Jamie, aka Rage, is a half-black rapper with a very hot temper. T is an aimless white kid hanging out far from his home. G is a pianist whose taste leans a bit more toward classical jazz than hip-hop. And when these three get involved in a botched burglary to pay the recording studio bill, they're forced to make some very grown-up decisions.

Yes, all the standard elements are here, from brutally racist cops to parents with lofty expectations. But the central performances are offhanded and natural enough to keep us interested in the characters, even as the film looks like it was shot and edited on a camcorder (albeit with much better sound). Ayers is especially good, nicely capturing Rage's moods, aspirations and desperations, while Pickard (of TV's 2point4 Children) does a terrific job as the lost boy with bravado to spare. Parkes is also excellent, even though the intriguing G is a bit sidelined in the script (editing?). Aduaka shows promise in his idea and in the actors/characters, but the film's pace is seriously slow, edited chaotically (both visually and song-wise) and filled with artfully vague shots that don't add anything to the story or mood. They just make the film feel much, much longer than its 90 minutes. To be honest, with some judicial editing, this could have been a ripping short film.

[15--adult themes, language] 5.Jan.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall