Today: May 20, 2024
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Payback Season

When a sub-genre becomes helplessly overdone you would hope that when a new edition arrives on the scene it would have something fresh to offer, perhaps a new twist in narrative or an element of irony.

When a sub-genre becomes helplessly overdone you would hope that when a new edition arrives on the scene it would have something fresh to offer, perhaps a new twist in narrative or an element of irony. Unfortunately, Payback Season falls comfortably into the British estate film and seems to believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, it is broke and it needs fixing as Deacon’s own satire on Britain’s ghetto epics, Anuvahood, proved.

A rising footballer Jerome (Deacon) has battled his way out of the ghetto to become a well-groomed star, gracing the celebrity pages of the red-tops as often as he does the sports pages. Determined to stay true to his roots, Jerome insists on still hanging out with his old crew, the usual collection of disgruntled, posturing young ghetto superstars we’ve seen far too much of since Noel Clarke’s Kidulthood, led by best bud Baron (David Ajala). After falling into bad business Baron asks Jerome for help. And keeps on asking until things turn sour.

Deacon’s recent BAFTA scoop is the probable cause for the film’s release and the well-deserved winner does his best to show voters he’s made the right choice. In the very few moments when an emotive outburst is required Deacon is fine but otherwise wasted on Jenny Fitzpatrick and Danny Donnelly’s shallow and, at times, excruciating script. With so many horrid cliches and stale stereotypes populating the film, you would have thought Donnelly would have caught himself and tried to have a little fun with the worn out material he’s trying to flog. Instead the plot is submerged in the predictable, merging unnecessary violence and a shallow narrative. Been there, done that, bought the hoodie.

Ajala’s Baron is the most enjoyable member of a cast so wooden they should be varnished. His performance isn’t subtle but Baron’s hardly Machiavelli. His idea of subtlety is to elbow a girl in the face when she mentions Jerome. Actually the whole experience of watching the film is a lot like being elbowed in the face and an open ending involving an ensemble that you don’t care about makes for a lame conclusion. Hopefully, now that Deacon has earned himself some credibility, he will steer clear of conforming to a genre that needs to be kicked into touch.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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