Brotherhood marks the final film in Noel Clarke’s ‘Hood’ series. Following the events of Kidulthood and Adulthood, the film continues the saga of Sam Peel (played by Clarke, who wrote and directed all three instalments). Sam is now a father of two young children and is trying to turn away from his past life of aggression, crime and violence. When his brother gets shot while performing at a club, a mysterious message is left for Sam saying ‘We’re not finished.’ He soon finds himself pulled back into the world he left behind, and his family is endangered as a result.
Brotherhood has some slow mo parts thrown in with fast-paced editing mixed with a booming R&B soundtrack to give it a fairly by the numbers urban feel. Plot-wise and aesthetically, there’s nothing particularly creative about it, although Clarke does show artistic skill in a stand-out sequence where Sam undergoes a significant trauma.
The main flaw with Brotherhood though is that it just takes a bit too long to actually get into the action and thrills we know are coming. Unless you've seen the previous instalments, you don’t really have a reason to care about these characters. The pacing and acting often feel like a soap gradually building up drama and tension across several episodes. The problem is Clarke doesn’t have a series to deliver the big finale. He has one feature-length movie. While satisfactorily thrilling, the finale just takes too long to come about.
Some parts of Brotherhood are done very well. There is a new group of young thugs, for example, who hark back to the film that started it all, Kidulthood. We see the adult characters of Brotherhood look at these kids with empathy as they know they were in the same place not so long ago, which creates an interesting dynamic between the groups. Arnold Oceng's performance as the domesticated Henry, which brings some comic relief to the flick, is also enjoyable.
Fans of Clarke’s movies should check out this final instalment of Sam Peel’s story, but don’t expect it to have the ambience or intensity of its predecessors.