17th Apr2015

‘Hackney’s Finest’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Nathanael Wiseman, Arin Alldridge, Enoch Frost, Marlon G. Day, Rajan Sharma, Neerja Naik, Malcolm Tomlinson, Sean Cronin, Jeanette Rourke, Christopher Dingli, Katarina Gellin | Written by Thorin Seex | Directed by Chris Bouchard


I’ve reviewed quite a few British gangster movies and know what to expect, some take themselves a little too seriously and others look to offer comedy.  As long as you know that then there is a good chance they end up being entertaining at least.  The British gangster movie  to be released is Hackney’s Finest, which is a film I remember looking for funding from a Kickstarter campaign, so it’s nice to see an independent film getting some success to mainstream distribution.

Sirus (Nathanael Wiseman) is a small time drug dealer who, when his friend Asif (Rajan Sharma) offers him a new delivery of drugs invites his Welsh friends Tony (Enoch Frost) and B (Marlon G. Day) so they can join in the wealth from the pickup.  What he doesn’t know though is a crooked cop Priestly (Arin Alldridge) has set him up, and with a gang of crazy Russians in tow looks to ruin the fun.

While it is nice to see a gangster movie with a sense of humour, there are times that Hackney’s Finest can feel a little harsh, at one point completely losing the tone that was being so successfully created.  This thankfully was only one scene though and redemption is found soon enough, getting the film back on track and raising some laughs.  Don’t expect a movie about morals though, these people are crooks, all of them, but Sirus and his friends at least are loveable rogues and the Russians a bunch of drugged up clowns.

What makes Hackney’s Finest work is that it looks to Guy Ritchie’s movies for inspiration and give a nostalgic nod to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  A lot of the tricks in terms of direction and film styling are obviously inspired by that movie with the most important element being the characters and their chemistry with each other.  We know who the bad guys are, we know the more likable ones…even if they have moments where they lose that more lovable side, for the most part they are funny and keep the tone light.

While the character of Sirus should be the most likable character, and for the most part is, I have to admit that I found myself liking Tony and B more.  With the combination of the Cockney gangsters, crooked cops and even Russian Mafia elements it is quite refreshing to have the Welsh contingent make an appearance and take charge of the chaos.  Enoch Frost and Marlon G. Day make a funny comic duo who tend to steal the scenes they are in and luckily enough for the audience these appearances are for most of the movie.

To look at Hackney’s Finest critically there are some flaws that for some people may turn them against liking the movie.  It may even be not to everybody’s taste.  With plenty of drug use and an unapologetically romanticising of the criminal world there is little flow in the terms of a back story to the characters, this is all about action and comedy.  We don’t really know why Priestly has a vendetta against Sirus, we just have to accept that he does.  If you can look past the weak story and look to the fast paced darkly comedic fun film that Hackney’s Finest is? Then you’ll realise that sometimes a strong story isn’t always that important, if the film keeps you entertained.

While it is true that there are some flaws in Hackney’s Finest, I found myself able to look past these because of how much fun I found the film to be.  Yes, as mentioned there is one scene that did break the tone of the movie, but once we get past that it can soon be forgotten.  Fun, chaotic and just a little different, Hackney’s Finest is well worth a watch.

Hackney’s Finest is out now on DVD and VOD.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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