Anuvahood review ?

Kenneth (Deacon), or Kay as he insists on being called, has big plans to be an MC. But after quitting his dead-end job at Laimsbury’s and finding out that his mixtape ‘Feel the Pain’ isn’t exactly setting the music world alight, he must find another way to prove he’s not a ‘wasteman’. One such plan includes selling beef (that’s weed) on his estate but despite the warnings, he falls foul of local tough guy Tyrone (Campbell) which also puts his friends in danger.

With its gaudy wardrobe and sunsoaked, er, council tower blocks, Anuvahood is in stark contrast to the grimy inner city dramas set in London in recent years. Less Kidulthood and more The Firm, it’s certainly a more lighthearted look at the ‘hood’ and largely people by larger than life characters trying to live it large. Except they wouldn’t say that because they’re ‘street’ and I’m assuredly not. But while much of the dialogue is incomprehensible to old fogies like me, it may well strike a chord with its intended audience – people who understand what ‘P’, ‘whip’ and ‘link’ mean beyond their usual usage.

In and of itself, not appealing to middle-class, middle-aged critics isn’t a problem. Indeed, if it did, maybe it was doing something wrong. However, there are other problems with Anuvahood, mainly that the plot is slight to say the least. If as much time had been spent on developing a story with drama and momentum as it had on the inane and seemingly endless squabbling between Kay and his friends this might have worked a bit better. As it is, there’s a lot of shouting and posturing and nothing much really happens.

Deacon, multitasking madly as co-writer, co-director and star plays his part well, although for a protagonist he’s not hugely sympathetic. Like the film itself, Richie Campbell’s Tyrone is full of energy but but also like the film not under much control, while Jazzie Zonzolo’s TJ seems to be channelling the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air via Chris Rock. Ollie Barbieri, best known for TV series Skins, is introduced early on as Enrique, a Spanish character in the UK to improve his English. It instantly feels as though he’ll play a pivotal role in proceedings but in fact he is soon sidelined to become just another one of Kay’s gang.

Perhaps most disappointingly of all though is that for what is being marketed as a comedy, it just isn’t funny. The best joke by a mile is when Kay meets a girl and asks her name. She says, “Persia”, to which he replies, “Ah, like the car.” Maybe this is a cultural or generational thing but the laughs were simply not forthcoming. Bizarrely, the film finishes with a brutal and bloody fight scene, quite out of kilter with the earlier lightness. So while it’s good to see British films being made at all, they really need to be better than this.

Official Site
World Premiere Report

Anuvahood at IMDb

Justin Bateman is a Screenjabber contributor

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