by Maria Evrenos
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"Chris Bouchard’s first feature is a gangster drama of grotesque proportions"
Far from the streets of the bicycling hipsters, meet the dull-witted, drug-fuelled gangsters of London’s East End.
Chris Bouchard’s first feature is a gangster drama of grotesque proportions. The guns are so big they look like they’ve been flown in from Crimea; the accents are thicker than syrup and the characters so two-dimensional they would fit in your letterbox. The film has a Tarantino temperament, but unfortunately not the corresponding budget or wit to match.
Hackney’s Finest is a story of a drug deal that gets way out of hand. We’ve heard this story before, haven’t we? But at least there are some pretty original characters to the story.
Sirus (Nathanael Wiseman) is a real East End ‘geezer’ who deals some heroin to perk up his personal finances on the side of his depressing call centre job. It’s a gig that also enables him to shoot up in the bathroom cubicles during his lunch break while pretending to “squeeze out a beaver”, which tell us more than enough.
A heavy drug user he may be, but he doesn’t really have any gangster credentials. And it turns out this next deal is going to be trouble. A large chunk of class A drugs have ended up in Hackney and the smell of cash has caught the attention of a very corrupt and vicious cop (Arin Alldridge). He, in turn, has called on his gang of techno-loving, drug-fuelled Russian outlaws for back up and it’s not long before people are getting shot and losing fingers over this valuable drug stash. Sirus is accompanied by some Welsh-Jamaican rude boys with questionable accents and unquestionable violence.
In truth I was totally underwhelmed with Hackney’s Finest. The story is weak, with barely any sub plots or dramatic arches and the characters are all very static. The film doesn’t pass the Bechdel test either, which is usually a benchmark for a low quality representation of reality.
It’s difficult to find it particularly funny, and I don’t share a sadistic thrill for violence. However, the film has a nice punch to its pace, so even though there’s a bit of a void when you leave the cinema, you may leave mildly entertained.