The Editor ran into the office wearing a Pearly King outfit shouting out, ‘Cor Blimey, my old mans a dustman! He’s been down the rub-a-dub-dub cos of the old trouble and strife cos she fell down the apples and pears and thought she was brown bread!’ and so on ad nauseum until we were unsure whether to have him sectioned or give him a swift punch in the face. We went for the latter. It was far more fun. After picking his teeth up from the floor we found that the reason for his lapse into cockney cobblers was the recent spate of London based films that have been doing the rounds. Whether it be the recent ‘Brotherhood’ or the upcoming ‘Panic’ and now the latest film. ‘A Hundred Streets’ it seems that London is just one big ghetto life with wannabe gangsters. In fairness ‘100 Streets’ actually actively aims to get away from that stereotype and like the immense cultural melting pot that is London this covers several story strands focussing primarily on the seemingly ubiquitous Idris Elba as a celebrated retired rugby captain of the national team whose had one affair too many and is rightly rejected by his long suffering wife, the ever lovely Gemma Arterton, as he tries to wangle his way back into her affections and see his kids. And whereas he tries to see his kids the story with Charlie Creed-Miles as George,a black cab driver desperate to adopt with his wife, only for him to be involved in an incident which hits for six their adoption plans. It’s the most underplayed strand but has the most moving sequence as he sings a karaoke version of Paul Weller’s ‘English Rose’ that plays across a montage. The third story resorts to the young black male teenage tearaway stereotype who, as part of a court order has to do community work where he befriends Ken Stott and forge an initially uneasy friendship which ultimately develops into one of mentoring and respectful apprentice which comes to a shocking conclusion but ultimately upbeat though unlikely end note.
Director Jim O Hanlon has set out to make a film that differs from the usual London based ghetto dramas and to a certain degree he does succeed but it’s the stereotypical and not wholly believable character portrayed by Elba that lets the side down portraying a lothario with a constantly roving eye driven to dabbling with the old Bolivian marching powder that would have made him tabloid heaven but curiously seems to attract little attention until the end with a faintly daft climax made worse by the presence of ginger news harridan Kay Burley who somehow has managed to muscle her way into appearing presumably because everyone at SKY news seems to have popped up in some major movie (we still think the late, great Bob Friend in ‘Mission Impossible’ was the best) though somehow she appears younger the older she gets.
Ultimately this is about the importance of fathers and father figures and each momentarily flits through each other’s stories which makes an uplifting, poignant and even shocking film with an outstanding ensemble cast.
Here’s the trailer:
Here’s screenwriter Leon Butler introducing the film to a select group of critics……