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City Rats


Stars: Danny Dyer, Susan Lynch, Tamer Hassan, Kenny Doughty, James Lance, Ray Panthaki, MyAnna Buring, Natasha Williams, Jake Canuso

Director: Steve M Kelly

You feel it's an ill omen when one of the characters in this punishing four-story drama says: 'God, this is going to feel like an eternity.' Actually, though, the film starts quite well, but does prove terminally slow in the telling. It's also ugly in the extreme; a more depressing quartet of stories would be hard to find. And how it gets away with a '15' certificate beggars belief.

Jim (Hassan) is about the jump off a building when he spots Sammy (Buring), who's about to throw herself off an adjacent rooftop. The prostitute (Lynch) he chatted up becomes reluctantly involved with the penniless artist (Panthaki) downstairs.

Meanwhile Olly (Doughty) must look after his deaf, autistic and gay (how PC can you get?) brother (Lance) for the day, and takes him first to a rent boy, then to a gay club.

In an even more run-down part of the city, alcoholic ex-crook Pete (Dyer) is a pursued by a 'bag lady' (Williams), who turns out to be a nurse seeking info on her lost son, who was once Pete's partner in crime. Naturally, as is the way with these things, all four stories interlock before the end.

Don't, however, expect another Crash. This is much darker and far less palatable than that. Acting is variable: Lynch remains a fine actress who just cannot seem to choose a decent script.

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Revolver. Technicolor.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 20 Apr 2009