Reviewed by: Kotleta

Youff of today ain't wot it used t'be. With all the bullies, drinking, drugs, fighting, shagging around and violent dissing of disloyal mates. There just isn't no respect no more, like, man. Innit?

The playground is a war zone. If Grange Hill decided to emulate Hollyoaks and put out a hard hitting post-pub late night special, it would not be unlike Kidulthood.

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The plot revolves around one day in the lives of a group of 15-year-olds in a West London school. Although racially mixed, they're as far removed from the United Colours of Benetton as star Jamie Winstone's figure is from that of her dad Ray.

Trevor, aka Trife, dropped Alisa cos she banged the school bully Sam whose bird Claire is also getting off with Trife's homeboy Jay on the sly and the kid from About A Boy is having a well wicked party, but Becky needs to score some readies to get frocked up for it so she can do Moony cos he is like well fit, man.

Bullied classmate Katie can't take it anymore and hangs herself. The fallout of this horribly familiar tragedy affects everyone and the day of memorial becomes a day of reckoning, not least for Trevor and Alisa who are starting to think that life shouldn't be like this.

The first act is involving and tight with impressive central performances from its young cast, but the focus is too wide and it's more of a disappointment than a surprise when it drifts into stylised cockney Trainspotting-lite half an hour later.

In valiantly trying to highlight every issue facing contemporary teenagers all at once and allowing the narrative to be driven by those issues, writer Noel Clarke (who also plays school psycho Sam) makes sacrifices in both story and character. The result is superficial shock value with little emotional impact and a surfeit of music video montage, perhaps inspired by an admittedly fantastic soundtrack.

As a sociology project it deserves five stars, but as a work of art, fewer. None of this is likely to prevent it being a huge hit amongst UK teens with a massively successful Channel 4 spin-off series to follow sometime next year.

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2006
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A day in the life of 15-year-olds from a tough West London school.
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Director: Menhaj Huda

Writer: Noel Clarke

Starring: Aml Ameen, Red Madrell, Noel Clarke, Jamie Winstone, Adam Deacon, Femi Oyeniran, Tom Burroughs

Year: 2006

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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