"considering that this was supposed to be a true reflection on life in Notting Hill it's a shame that it all felt so fake and forced"
Noel Clarke's 2006 Kidulthood impressed me because, despite it's somewhat inexperienced vibe, it portrayed life as it really is for many teenagers, not just in London but everywhere. Fights, sex, drugs. It really does happen. And not just to the unfortunate few. Often you get sucked into this without even realising. It's risky, exciting and way more fun then sitting at home. But, and this surely was the whole point, things can get very out of hand pretty fast - with life changing consequences. It was without a doubt the best British offering to the American Kids.
But Kidulthood has to end and in it's place comes Adulthood. Less naive, more gritty and with a lot more substance, right? Well, wrong, actually. At least not in this case. When Sam Peel (Clarke - yep, he starts in too!) is released from prison six years after that fatefull party he soon learns that plenty of people still hold a grudge. And so we follow him on his first 24 hours of freedom as he attempts to rectify the big pile of mess he left behind. And it's not a pretty sight. Don't get me wrong, I can totally see what writer/director Clarke was trying to do... maybe he lacks talent, maybe he hasn't experienced what he's trying to show - all I know is that while the violence and the pure desperation of the characters is pretty disturbing it's the cast's uneasiness to portray these characters and work with a stiff script that really made me wince.
Considering that this was supposed to be a true reflection on life in Notting Hill it's a shame that it all felt so fake and forced. OK, so the cast is pretty much unknown and the budget was tight - but that's not really an excuse...or is it? Maybe for some it will be enough that Clarke is trying to scrape the surface of reality and educate people, but I walked away wondering if he really knew what he was talking about or whether he'd just watched a few Channel 4 street gang documentaries with the rest of the inspiration drawn from Eastenders.
Of course it's never all bad and the dramatic climax is pretty spectacular, making up for the previous 60 minutes. Forget the prequels realism, in fact forget everything you've read about gangs and crime and guns and go in purely to be entertained - that way you won't be disappointed!