Riz Ahmed exhibits some bad Manors.
ILL MANORS (Ben Drew). 116 minutes. Opens Friday (June 21). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
With its intersecting stories of various drug thugs, hookers and aspirationally minded teenagers chasing and killing each other around an East London neighbourhood, ill Manors treads the same ground as dozens of other UK productions that popped up in the wake of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting and Guy Ritchie's swaggering lad movies.
What distinguishes it from others is that it's made by a musician - Ben Drew, who raps as Plan B - instead of a filmmaker. Drew brings some new ideas to the same old stories. He introduces each character with an elaborate hip-hop flashback and raps about the choices and mistakes that brought him or her to this point in their lives.
When that happens, it doesn't feel like a music video's intruding on a movie; it's properly cinematic, like the natural eruption of emotion in a musical, and it feels great.
But those sequences only happen four or five times, and there's a lot of generic nonsense in between as Drew's central character, Aaron (Riz Ahmed), spends a frantic night looking for a friend's missing phone and the next day trying to find a baby's mother (Natalie Press).
At two full hours, it's exhausting and overloaded. Drew's delivered a double album when he should have started with an EP.