Friday, 20 June 2008

Adulthood Review

I confessed to my housemates last week that I suffer from 'White Man Guilt'. Its a condition first named by Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm where a priveleged white person nods to anyone he passes in the street with darker skin than himself. I tried to convince my friends that this was a positive discrimination thing and that I only do it because I feel lousy that for years and years my ancestors screwed over every single race, creed and colour in the world, and I'm just trying to put something good into the world. They weren't convinced. Instead I was dubbed a closed minded quasi racist. I only tell you this because my 'close minded quasi racistness' also stops me from relating in any way to a good film like Adulthood.

Set 6 years after Kidulthood (which I hadn't seen, sorry) Adulthood tells the story of Sam (writer/director Noel Clarke) and his redemption on the streets of London. After serving time for the killing of his one time friend,Trife, Sam is released to a world just as bad, if not worse, than the life he remembers. Here he tries to make amends for his actions while simultaneously trying to stay alive from all those that want revenge for Trife's death. It appears Leon was right when he told Mathilda that "life was always this tough, not just when you're a kid".

First up I think it would help immeasuarably for you to watch the first film (BBCiplayer are showing it for free now) if you intend to see this. While its easy enough to follow there is more to be had by being clued up on the characters and their motivations. Secondly, back to the race thing, I think there is more to be had if you share a similar background and can see yourself in these struggles. Being a white boy from Norfolk who went to Univeristy at Canterbury there were times when I couldn't understand what characters were saying let alone where they were coming from. Comedy subtitles may have helped but probably would have detracted from the experience. That or a translation from the jive talking granny off Airplane.

But as much as my nodding to people with tans better than mine is a problem so is the idea addressed by this movie that all token whities are either idiots, weak or (worst of all in this world) deeply un-cool. Except Danny Fucking Dyer. He manages to get away with it, but in my opinion he's managed to get away with being alive for a lot longer than he should have. None of these reasons are enough to not recommend this film though. It was surprisingly well written, more intelligent than I would have thought and at times incredibly tense. I know if I ever see Noel Clarke walking down the street I'll give him a little nod. And it won't be anything to do with his ethnicity but more to do with the fact he's made a damn fine movie.

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