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New Town Killers


Stars: Dougray Scott, Alastair Mackenzie, James Anthony Pearson, Charles Mnene, Liz White

Director: Richard Jobson

Writer-director Jobson makes excellent use of his Edinburgh locations to add impact to his low budget riff on The Most Dangerous Game aka The Hounds of Zaroff which has the considerable advantage in this era of ‘auteurs’ i.e. ‘look at me-aren’t-I-incredibly-clever-and-cine-literate’ filmmakers of being well-made and well-acted.

Working class 16-year-old Pearson accepts a wager from successful but psychotic (not that Pearson’s realised it at the time) private banker Scott to stay hidden for 12 hours while Scott and his partner Mackenzie hunt him down. And the reward if he succeeds? The £11,000 Pearson needs to clear the debts of his luxury-loving sister White. But what Pearson doesn’t realise is that he has been set up…

It’s clear the budget is low but Jobson sensibly stays within it, telling his story directly without showing off and using Simon Dennis’ moody cinematography to excellent dramatic and atmospheric effect. Performances are well up to the requirements of the linear narrative with Scott, in particular, delivering a nice line in smiling villainy. And, while you may not remember the film for long, it grips efficiently while you watch.

(The title, incidentally, comes from the suburb of Edinburgh where Pearson lives)

Alan Frank

UK 2008. UK Distributor: High Fliers. Colour.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 14 Jun 2009