South West Nine


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A black man stands in the pulsating mass of chemically charged ravers at 2.35am in the body of a Brixton church and asks himself, "At the dawn of a new millennium, how the f*** did we end up like this?"

Richard Parry's disturbing film does not answer the question, but rather observes life after LSD within a culture that has lost responsibility for its sanity.

Drugs have become currency in a barter system that exists under cover of a welfare state, too abused to care. Mercenaries against capitalism doss down with National Front nutters in a guerrilla war that feeds off riot and rebellion.

In the squats, white kids with dreds emulate a spirit of freedom, wasted by hallucinatory madness. Chaos is king and yet there is order for "crusties, suits and scammers", as well as "a deep understanding of the word paranoia."

There is a plot, with genuine characters, told back to front, with tricksy time flips that don't disturb the general air of anarchy. It is not a film to savour, like Human Traffic, being so much harder. The humour is too dark to see and yet it's there in the mannerisms of mayhem.

The timing is unfortunate, so soon after the attack on New York. A great deal of anger, ingrained within the fabric of the writing, is aimed at what the World Trade Centre represented.

Parry does not preach with a Molotov cocktail in one hand and a spliff in the other. He looks at Brixton as a microcosm of 21st century life - violent, opportunistic, smashed, forgiving.

The film has energy and imagination to spare. As an ensemble work, there is a crazy logic binding its disparate ends. Hope comes with "disco biscuits", not politics. In a corrupt world, destruction is power.

Not a popular theme right now.

Reviewed on: 11 Oct 2001
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South West Nine packshot
Alternative life in Brixton for squatters, ravers, dealers, BNP nutters and a rich chick with dreds.
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Director: Richard Parry

Writer: Richard Parry

Starring: Will Johnson, Stuart Laing, Amelia Curtis, Mark Letheren, Orlessa Edwards, Frank Harper, Nicola Stapleton

Year: 2001

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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If you like this, try:

Human Traffic