offender 2012 DI 02b
2012 Running time: 102 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4
Offender

Synopsis

Bruisingly powerful British drama chronicling the revenge of a young father-to-be on the thugs who attacked his pregnant girlfriend on the night of the 2011 London riots. Jobbing builder Tommy Nix (Skins' Joe Cole) engineers a custodial sentence in a young offenders' centre to catch up with the villains who have rendered his once-happy life meaningless. Debut director Ron Scalpello has admirably crafted a compelling drama which may follow Brit drama formula but rings true with a focussed, unflashy performance from Cole.

Director

  • Ron Scalpello

Cast

  • Joe Cole

  • Kimberley Nixon

  • English Frank

  • Shaun Dooley

  • G. Frsh

Review

It's a bit surprising to report that one of this year's best British debuts comes from a team who played a key part in the production of geezer cliche-fests Anuvahood and Ill Manors.

This gratifyingly accomplished debut from director Ron Scalpello refreshes tired wideboy formula to produce a prison drama fired up with barely-suppressed rage.

Subverting the classic revenge premise, this follows the unwavering path of Tommy (Cole) as he discovers the whereabouts of the attackers of his pregnant girlfriend...and beats up a couple of coppers to ensure a youth sentence will put him within striking distance.

Via shrewd use of flashback, we see how the yobs - led by the charismatically vile Jake (a superbly threatening Frank Cobban) - beat the girl to a pulp when they work out she might have rumbled that they were involved in a fatal armed robbery on the night of the London riots.

When she loses her and Tommy's child, she walks out on the relationship, triggering a brutally focused payback from the desperate youngster who now has only one thing on mind.

A spare script and lean dialogue lend genuine power to the taciturn youngster's unswervable quest for justice, a single-minded obsession that results in some truly bone-crunching violence.

Outside Tommy's grim pre-occupation, the film also scores points for a positive attitude to Islam as embraced by some of the inmates as a valid route to decent lives and an unhysterical condemnation of a system terrifyingly represented by Shaun Dooley's greasily corrupt warder.

It's got it's flaws for sure...but there's a major talent at work here.