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Movie Review: Shank

Diverting urban drama that too often feels like watching a row outside a garage night

Cert: 15, 1hr30mins
Starring: Adam Deacon, Kaya Scodelario, Kedar Williams-Stirling

The year is 2015 and the hot one from Skins (Kaya Scodelario) is running around in tube socks and a dirty face. She's not the only one - everyone is dirty in Shank, and everyone is shouting at each other too. The first is understandable - this is a dystopia where teen gangs now rule, roaming the streets looking to steal "munchies" (generally in stylish slo-mo, and accompanied by the latest Tinchy Stryder track). The second is just annoying. The overall effect is partly like watching MTV Base for two hours, and partly like watching a never-ending argument outside a club.

The plot sees newcomer Kedar Williams-Stirling playing a kid (Junior) in a "non-violent" (this is relative) gang, who sees his brother killed by another gang who are noticeably pro-violence (with a specialism in knife crime). The plan: get them back.

This is done by visiting a variety of outlandish characters for very unspecific reasons (some guy in charge of "The Somalis", someone who serves Kentucky fried pigeon, someone with a tattooed head), and ending up with a big ruck. Diverting enough, but the makers clearly think they're making a statement about knife crime in London and the possibility of it spiralling out of control. In a film where two dogs fight in the style of Street Fighter II (complete with energy bar at the bottom of the screen) that was always going to be a stretch.

6 out of 10

Stuart McGurk


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