Cold weather has kept me in, so I am watching some more films lately.
This modern British film is a gritty look at police corruption, and pulls no punches. It contains drug use, occasional graphic violence, people trafficking, and a huge amount of bad language.
The film-makers assembled a group of very British talent for the cast, including Peter Ferdinando, MyAnna Buring, Stephen Graham, and the always excellent Neil Maskell. The story revolves around the corrupt practices of a detective task force in London, headed by Michael Logan. (Ferdinando) They work hard, and play hard too. Heavy drinking, recreational drugs, and no hesitation in framing the criminals they arrest, while they also steal the drugs and money that are seized on their raids. We are not supposed to sympathise with any of the characters, that’s for sure.
The sudden appearance of Internal Affairs alerts Logan to the fact that he and his colleagues are under investigation. Meanwhile, they are attempting to do a deal with some vicious Albanian gangsters who are trying to take over territory in London. Fuelled by cocaine, Logan puts himself about all over the city, avoiding contact with his own boss, and the police investigators following closely behind. He counts on the loyalty of his small team, as well as his girlfriend, Lisa. (Buring) As all this is going on, he is surprised to be seconded to a new special group, formed to combat people trafficking for prostitution. Once working there, he is dismayed to find out that they are closely investigating the same Albanians he is protecting.
Life begins to unravel for Michael, as he is forced to work with a former colleague who is now heading this new group. Pressure from above leads him to betray his Albanian associates, and his absence from his regular team encourages the members of that to take chances when he is not around. Hoping to get real evidence, he rescues a young Albanian woman who has been trafficked, and hides her at his girlfriend’s house. But he is unaware of the antics of his three friends, and also blind to the fact that the secondment to the new team is a set up by the equally corrupt Internal Affairs officers. It is soon apparent that nothing is going to end well for anyone concerned.
Despite everything I mentioned, I really liked this film. It is not just ‘British’, it is very ‘English’. And more than that, very ‘London’. Authentic locations (that I know very well) add to the appeal for me, and the rise of Eastern European gangsters over here is reflected well. Performances are totally convincing, from a very experienced cast of actors that know how it works in the real world. And seem to be living in just that, throughout the film. Other than the distraught young Albanian woman, there is nobody to root for, or to side with. They all get what they deserve, and reap what they have sown.
That was satisfying indeed.
This is a British crime thriller very much in the ‘old school’, and all the better for that.