The Guvnors

**1/2

Reviewed by: Robert Munro

The Guvnors
"It's all a little bit familiar, with the characters seemingly straight out of Green Street or Football Factory."

Written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Gabe Turner, The Guvnors treads a familiar cinematic path between London's inner-city gangs and its ageing football hooligans, and tries to weld the two together. It's not without skill and some strong performances, but too often feels like it's been seen before.

Up-and-coming hood Adam (Harley Alexander-Sule) has a London estate terrorised, but is jealous that his street cred will never extend to that afforded to the generation that came before him - football hooligans The Guvnors. Chief Guvnor, Mitch (Doug Allen), now lives a cosy middle-class life, but his impressionable son is keen to follow in his old man's footsteps. When Adam attacks an old friend of Mitch's, the old Guvnor must return to the old neighbourhood to settle scores and right wrongs.

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It's all a little bit familiar, with the characters seemingly straight out of Green Street or Football Factory. However, there are a few nice turns and at the film's centre is an interesting core idea - that our past stays with us no matter how much we try to shake it off.

The picture is filmed almost constantly in close-up and medium close-up, which is rather disorienting and denies the audience any perspective on the characters and their surroundings. Perhaps that's the point. Harley Alexander-Sule, apparently one half of hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, puts in a strong central performance as the angry, confused Capone-wannabe. However, his character isn't quite fleshed out enough to really enable the audience to empathise with him, and some of the plot motivations feel too contrived.

Most of the violence and fight scenes are well handled, without becoming overly fetishised, and there a good number of interesting performances from the supporting cast, which features David Essex and Richard Blackwood. So there's that.

Reviewed on: 28 Jun 2014
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A young gangster tries to challenge the football hooligans of the generation before him.
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