iLL MANORS is a stunning film from Ben Drew aka rapper Plan B. As his directorial and writing debut, he does a fantastic job showing a side of London that most people, including many Londoners, never see – or try to ignore. Following his song of the same name, released last summer in the aftermath of the London Riots, iLL MANORS is all about youths being bought up in ‘Broken Britain’.
Set in Forest Gate, East London, the movie is an intense amd intertwining tale of several key characters. The characters are all connected to one another, and by skipping back and forth in time, the film shows clearly how a person’s actions can impact those around them. The storyline is clever and well constructed, with the main characters fully developed and believable.
iLL MANORS tells of the underground drug world’s effect on its dealers, users and victims, through their connections. Plan B raps at various points throughout the film as a social commentary on what’s happening, and illustrates how the characters got to that point. The back story of several characters really makes you see how they are a product of their environment, and how they practically had no choice in this path. The film is loosely based on things Plan B has seen in his past, such a girl prostituting herself to pay back drug dealers, and is stronger for its realism.
Each of the actors does a fantastic job. There are clear, thought-provoking moments in the movie where you can really feel the emotion and the intensity of the characters. The acting it outstanding, especially from Riz Ahmed – of Four Lions fame – and Ed Skrein, who play the ‘hard men’ extremely well. Ahmed in particular does an amazing job of playing the tough character, while also showing his character, Aaron’s, heart. Anouska Mond also puts in an exceptional performance, as the ‘fallen girl’ who’s forced into drugs and prostitution after a hard upbringing.
iLL MANORS is a fantastic, hard hitting movie with a serious undertone about what really goes on in a world often ignored. The violence and sheer emotion throughout show the problems facing modern youth, as well as their motivations for turning to a life of crime. It is daring to show the problems that most people purposefully tune out, but Plan B does an incredible job of turning this controversial issue into a stunning and moving film.
Written by Sherin Malick