film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Small City 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


2021's Small City is directed by two people (Georgie Curren, Adriano Vilanova). Small City's title? Well I don't know about that. The film takes place in London, UK, home to almost 9 million people. I suppose "City" has to do with the London underbelly. You know, the areas that are sketch. Anyway, this flick is more like an expert student film dropped into a festival as opposed to a full-length feature. It's like a long short at 74 minutes (if that makes any sense).

Small City has unknown actors in it (at least they're unknown to me). They mumble their lines with thick accents and appear well, thuggish and ruggish. The hero in "City" (or you could say anti-hero) is Ozzy played by newcomer Eddie Thompson. Thompson looks a little like Daniel Kaluuya and at times, almost equals Kaluuya's smoldering screen presence. Yeah I didn't always know what he was saying but hey, he managed to carry Small City amicably.

Guy Ritchie rock n' rollers aside, Small City is about a small-time hood who flees the life while trying to help a young girl escape some human traffickers. The vehicle is undercut with spurts of bloody violence, tough-talking (garbled tough-talking), and grainy gleam. Yup there are times when "City" can be dark and dangerous (intermittently dark and dangerous).

"City" is well shot by Curren and Vilanova. It harbors a sort of bleached-out Michael Mann look a la 2004's Collateral. Also, "City" kinda reminded me of something the Safdie brothers would have done if they slowed things down a bit. Alas, if Small City wasn't so vague in its plotting and characterizations I would've applauded it even more. At well under an hour and a half, you don't quite get the full backstory of what the deal is with all the ruffians involved. The 2-3 interpretative endings in "City" don't soften the blow any further. Not "small" city, just "small-scaled".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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