DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Adulthood - the 'Hoodies strike back' review

Adulthood (15)

Dir. Noel Clarke

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

As Carter USM once sang: “The kids playing gangster wars, they don’t believe in Santa Claus, the baseball bats are soft of course, the blood is just tomato sauce…”

Would have been a decent track to include on the soundtrack to this hip and street sequel which plays like a ‘Episode III: The Revenge of the Kids’ to the original ‘Episode I : The Hoodie Menace’ (Kidulthood – DM review here: Hoodies ate my childhood ).

So six years have past since bad boy Sam (Noel Clarke) killed a young kid and we get to join him as he gets released from jail after doing his hard time. The film tracks him over his first day of freedom but all is not well in the hood and it’s going to be a miracle if he survives even 24hrs thanks to the revenge plans of the kids on the streets.

Director and star Clarke manages to effectively keep the feel of the first film but also to inject a deeper harshness which works in delivering the message that the world isn’t a nice place for you whether you’re a kid or an adult… or somewhere in between… Sam has undergone a kind of metamorphosis in jail, he’s still a bit of a wrong un but now he’s the closest thing we’ve got to a hero as the lovable scallywags whose mate he killed have degenerated into criminal scum partly due to losing their pal. Adam Deacon should get special mention because his character Jay, often the comic relief of both films, manages to bring real presence this time as he fights to make sense of his feelings.

The cast are mostly strong overall – as in decent for ex-EastEnders at least - even Danny ‘did you call me a ****’ Dyer chips in with his patented hard lad cameo. Those looking for a contemporary Brit thriller should find what they’re after, youth and social workers looking for case studies and learning reference points might be less delighted as this is fiction ripped from the Daily Mail view of lower classes ‘street life’ but it probably does reflect the lives of some. Sure Adulthood has a maturity missing from the original and explores the hard to vocalise feelings of young adults who just don’t feel ready for their role… Have they ‘grown up’ or are they still kids just reacting to their circumstances? The original was described as ‘a brutal assessment of inner city impoverished teens’ – whereas Adulthood is basically ‘hoodie porn’ for middle class viewers at heart.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (8)
+ Pick this to immerse yourself in an amoral world where the normal rules of society don't apply

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
+ There’s hoodie fuelled panic on the streets of London

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (7)
+ Scarlett Alice Johnson is hot but I missed Jamie Winston

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööö (4)
+ might be too ‘yoof’ for some…

Comedic Value: öööööö (5)
+ Couple of amusing scenes but mostly grim

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)
A tasty follow up which makes for a superb double bill!

Liable to make you:
"carry a baseball bat with you at all times"

DM Poster Quote:
“violence really isn’t big or clever – it just looks big and clever here"

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