The Grind (15)
Dir. Rishi Opel
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (you can also read a version of this review over at Frank The Monkey)
Oi you muppet – didn’t I see you down The Grind?
Don’t mouth me off, you’re in big trouble, big Dave wants his cash back and you owe him a lot…
Meet Vince (Freddie Connor) – geezer and nightclub manager of ‘The Grind’ – a low rent club in Hackney, East London that is doing very nicely thank you. So Vince thinks it’s time to settle down and take life easier but fate has other ideas.
You see that loser type over there? That’s Bobby (Gordon Alexander), Vince's best mate from school, he’s just been released from prison and it’s looking like he’s going to drag Vince down if he’s not careful.
Bobby's on the cocaine and packing some serious gambling debts to Vince's boss, Dave, owner of The Grind / evil East End loan shark.
The whole mate who owes bad people large money plot has been done before – perhaps most memorably in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets but these lively London chaps do the time worn tale justice with some committed performances backed up with above average camerawork and a delicious growing sense of tangible menace throughout.
"you have the right to try and act like a gangsta"
Low budget Brit gangster flicks are dime a dozen and often not worth the time of day, ‘The Grind’ however somehow manages to stand out in the crowded genre – and there’s no sign of Danny Dyer either…
One of the best things here are some fun cameos from Dynamo (the street magician of ‘Dynamo: Magician Impossible’) and Sway (MOBO award winning British grime artist of ‘Level Up’ fame).
The Grind plays some actors against type e.g. Danny John-Jules (you might recognise as ‘Cat’ from Red Dwarf) and the few women (Zoe Tapper and Kellie Shirley) on the scene are great – sexy, stylish and very watchable but neither get enough screen time.
The production values are much better than expected in this sort of flick, yeah the dialogue ranges from the quotable to the poor “Cappuccino – go easy on the froth” but it works. There’s action too and when it kicks off you’ll feel the as the crunching heist scene is one to savor for crime film fans everywhere.
So against all the odds The Grind ends up being a decent crim-em-up drama. If the thought of taking a ride to through the seedy underbelly that lurks on the mean streets of London then this is a DVD you'll want to check. Be careful who your friends are though and never underestimate a desperate man…
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
4 – Opel does a great job with an obviously tiny budget and marks himself out as a director to watch.
"Kellie Shirley reporting for duty"