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Stars: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Nitin Ganatra, Dannielle Lloyd, Kate Groombridge, Jay Simpson

Director: Eran Creevy

For a first feature film by its director, this grunge Brit crime drama is really pretty good. Shifty (Ahmed), a gay young narcotics dealer from deepest Essex, has recently moved up from soft drugs to heroin and crack cocaine.

Back into his life for 24 hours comes his boyhood friend, former pill-popper Chris (Mays), who fled their home town after an incident involving a girl who died, and now leads a semi-respectable life in Manchester.

Thrown out by his strict Muslim parents, Shifty has been taken in by his upright brother Rez (Ganatra), who is unaware of Shifty's 'profession'. Also in the mix are arch drugs trader Glen (Flemyng) and his junk-brained girlfriend (Groombridge), plus dope fiend Trevor (Simpson), who owes Shifty money and long ago promised his wife (Lloyd) that he had kicked the habit. Now he's lost his job and is desperate for another fix.

Chris wanders along with Shifty on his 'round', seeing him sell crack cocaine to an ageing cat-lover (Francesca Annis), but revealing his softer side by bullying her ever-snogging young neighbours into turning their ear-shattering music down.

It's all a more combustible mixture than some of Shifty's wares, and it threatens to explode when Trevor extracts drugs from Shifty and Chris at the point of a knife.

This is a well-shot and economically made drama with a nicely-worked little plot that springs a surprise or two at the end. Ahmed is right in the money as the grafter who can't see beyond tomorrow. Since the film was previewed, it has been modified slightly to move down from an '18' to a '15' certificate.

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Fujicolor.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 3, Swearing 3.

Review date: 19 Apr 2009