"the cast are selling the hell out of it but some may struggle to get immersed in the bullet point presentation of the characters lives"

Being an ensemble piece centred around the lives of a variety of characters who all live within 100 streets of each other it would likely take the entire length of this review to fully explain everything that is going on in this movie but the short version is as follows; Max (Idris Elba) is a former rugby superstar whose marriage to Emily (Gemma Arterton) is on the rocks and he’s not taking it well, Kingsley (Franz Drameh) is a low level street hood looking for a way out of a life he never really fit into in the first place, and George (Charlie Creed-Miles) is a black cab driver whose life is turned upside down one fatal day on the road.

These are our central characters whose lives intermingle in large and small ways as their stories play out. Kingsley makes a friend in Terence (Ken Stott) who is an old friend of Emily and helps to put him on a better path. Max’s attempts to get his life together end up sending him even further down the rabbit hole, whilst the life George and his wife have worked so hard to achieve seems to slip further and further away as he descends into his own little pit of despair.

There’s a general theme of redemption and struggle, though played out in very different ways through the stories of each of our heroes. Ensemble pieces are harder to pull off than you might think, they are more than just a series of short stories strung together, what makes a good story doesn’t necessarily make for a good ensemble. What I’m saying here is I’m not entirely sure this film works.

Each story works great, the cast really engage, even those with a limited screen time, but ultimately I feel like I’d rather have seen each of them in their own movie. It’s a weird criticism to say that the movie doesn’t work because I like the story but that’s kind of the way it is. The thread connecting our heroes is so very weak that it almost doesn’t exist at times, in fact I’m not a hundred percent sure how George connected to the others exactly now that I think back on it.

And part of the problem is that you kind of keep waiting for this connecting moment and when it doesn’t pay off it’s something of a disappointment even though the film didn’t promise or particularly need it. It’s just a quirk of this kind of movie, I’m watching three stories I like but why do we have to keep chopping between them, I’d rather enjoy them one at a time so I can really take each one in.

In addition because they’re sharing screen time we do end up a little with just the broad strokes of the narrative. Not many of the characters have time to just breathe and be themselves, they have a limited number of scenes so they have to pack in the important plot points and leave us to just assume each one got resolved in-between those moments whilst we were watching something else happen. That being said what we get is strong and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.

So it’s good but it’s not great, a fairly average example of the style and whilst the cast are selling the hell out of it some may struggle to get immersed in the bullet point presentation of the characters lives. You’ll feel for them but it’s unlikely to stick with you once you leave the theatre.