- Director: Alex Pillai
- Genre: Drama
- Cert: 15A
- Details: UK / 86mins
Engaging to a point, it's when Victim substitutes hard-hitting drama for hitting us over the head with its message that all good will is lost. The message is we're all victims the robbed and the robbers alike but try telling that to those who have just had their stereo nicked by the louts sitting on the wall down the end of the street.
Bad boy Tyson (Chin) and his chums-Jason (Maris) and Mannie (Jason Maza) - lure unsuspecting marks with the help of eye candy Davina (Anna Nightingale) and rob them blind, the gang are prepared to spill a little blood in the process. Jason might pull the jobs for cash to spend on expensive comics and Mannie just wants to be a gangsta, but Tyson feels he has no choice, with all the earnings going to keeping a roof about fifteen-year-old sister Nyla's (Wright) head and paying off the debt accumulated by their loser mum. Nyla has her own 'street' issues: she's running with a bad lot who seem hell bent on teaching immigrant Victor (Jordy Meya) a lesson. Into this mix comes posh Tia (Medakwe), cousin to Davina, who might help all concerned turn a corner.
Victim does kick off with a hubbub of activity, with Alex Pillali squeezing in as much background information on all the characters as he can. There's always something happening as the director goes about setting up a hell of a lot. He could have eased up on the music video montages but Pillali steers a steady ship until the halfway mark when Victim comes apart at the seams. The performances are by far and away the strongest element. Chin and Maris (who co-wrote the script) look and act like friends who live on council estates while the banter-heavy dialogue works.
Dialogue, which was always a bit obvious, does what it has been threatening to do and succumbs to a School Play level before the end. The preachy monologues, of which Nyla's climatic essay on what it means to be a victim is the worst, is hammered home all too hard. The movie forgets about Madakwe and when the story intermittingly finds her something to do - like warding off a jealous ex-boyfriend - it's only as a plot device. For such an important character, she has very little screen time and is hard to believe from the off: her first scene sees her leave her posh country home and loving dad where she refuses a lift into the city because she wants to do it alone. Yeah, right, love - let's see how far you get with that backpack.
What a disappointment. When Victim works it's interesting and when it doesn't it's terrible.
Review by Gavin Burke | 14:14 | Friday 22nd June 2012 | Movie Review
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