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Shifty - Review

Shifty

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WRITER-director Eran Creevy’s urban drama Shifty mayke sound like it’s travelling a well-trodden path – especially arriving in the wake of last year’s Adulthood – but few of those films have done it as well as this.

What makes it even more remarkable, however, is the fact that Creevy has been able to achieve what he has with a budget of only £100,000 and a shooting schedule of just 18 days. He subsequently emerges as a new filmmaker of genuine talent, as does every member of his talented [not to mention dedicated] cast.

Chris (Daniel Mays) returns to London after some years away determined to patch things up with his old best friend Shifty (Riz Ahmed). But in the ensuing 24 hours that they spend together, Shifty’s crack-dealing business is about to implode, while Chris must conquer the demons from his past, whilst offering his friend an unlikely chance at salvation.

Creevy’s film is born out of his own personal experiences of growing up in London and smacks of authenticity in its depiction of drug culture. It also manages to avoid becoming a victim of its own message by presenting the consequences of its characters’ actions in a believable fashion.

It doesn’t preach, though, or feel like a kitchen sink drama, opting instead to inject plenty of humour into proceedings, as well as a keen eye for the little details that give the film it’s own identity, rather than reducing things to the level of cliché.

As a result, the writer-director is able to benefit from some truly memorable performances, with Mays and Ahmed brilliant as the central duo and well worthy of viewers’ time and sympathy.

Jay Simpson also stands out as a desperate cocaine addict struggling to keep his habit a secret from his family, while Jason Flemyng and Nitin Ganatra impress in smaller roles as, respectively, a nasty drug dealer and Shifty’s brother.

The overall result is a film that firmly puts Creevy on the map (he reportedly aspires to Michael Mann-style standards), and which looks certain to further the careers of both Ahmed and Mays, in particular. It is an excellent example of a film that rises above its genre to boast a much broader appeal than first glances may suggest.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 85mins
UK Release Date: April 24, 2009