2010 Running time: 98 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Rocknrolla and The Sorcerer's Apprentice star Toby Kebbell plays ex-squaddie Robert Miller, a traumatised Afghanistan veteran. Living on a violent London council estate and finding work in undercover surveillance, he becomes obsessed with taking down a group of local gangsters who are linked to a suspected terrorist cell. Taking the situation into his own hands, Miller embarks on a brutal quest for justice, with devastating consequences. Director Matthew Hope avoids the usual return-of-the-soldier cliches to delivers an above par British thriller.

Director

  • Matthew Hope

Cast

  • Toby Kebbell

  • Brian Cox

  • Tony Curran

  • Adi Bielski

Review

Traumatised ex-squaddie Robert Miller (Kebbell) finds he's gunning for trouble when he swaps the mean, IED-strewn dusty roads of Afghanistan for the mean streets of, erm, Southwark.

Still wired after being ambushed by Taliban guerillas, he struggles to keep a lid on provocation from feral local gangstas and deals with post-traumatic stress by punching the walls of his flat.

Unable to land a job, he's tempted by the opportunity for undercover surveillance work offered by shady government spooks Brian Cox and Tony Curran.

He gets the gig of shadowing a suspected cell of Al-Qaeda terrorists and is subsequently requested to make contact with Adi Bielski's panicking infiltrator and ship her out.

Director Matthew Hope's strongest suit is Kebbell, who first impressed in Dead Man's Shoes opposite Paddy Considine and imbues Miller with a jittery menace reined in by a brooding sense of justice.

Peripheral characters are not so successful: the Cox and Curran show is predictably duplicitous, Bielski isn't given enough to work with and the estate gangsters are straight out of central casting.

The plot will no doubt please foaming conspiracy theorists but at least Hope resists the temptation for a wallow in violence. Instead, there's short, sharp painful bursts, including a neatly organised ruck in a van with a gang of Chechen thugs.

Eventually, the plot is bogged down in a mire of unlikely secret alliances and a shoot-out on a council estate which doesn't appear to have a local policing policy.

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