A heist thriller with a distinctly British sensibility, The Rise marks an assured and engaging first feature from writer/director Rowan Athale. Appealing characters, clever plotting and smart dialogue make for a winning combination.
The Rise is set against the backdrop of a ‘broken’ Britain that has nothing to offer a younger generation beyond minimum wage jobs and unrealistic hopes. Released after a short prison sentence, Harvey (Luke Treadaway) wants a second chance with girlfriend Nathalie (Vanessa Kirby), he wants revenge on the local crime boss Roper (Neil Maskell) who framed him and he wants to enlist the help of his mates for a robbery that might allow him to achieve all those goals.
There may be nods to The Usual Suspects and the Oceans franchise along the way but The Rise is very much its own film. The pleasures lie as much in the sarcastic banter and blokey chemistry of the four leads as they do in the mechanics of the twisted revenge plot. Treadaway gives one of his best performances, ably supported by a strong ensemble cast. Rowan Athale clearly knows how to bring out the best in his actors and lays down a marker for what should be a promising future career.
Allan Hunter, Screen International