Shifty

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Oh look, it’s that film again. The one with the bunch of young guys, about the drugs deal that goes wrong. You know, set on that estate with the rough dogs and the burger van? Remember how it always rained? And there’s that girl, you must remember. The pretty one from magazines. And you knew it — you just knew it — that the boss would come and get them in the end —

And that’s how it feels watching Shifty. It’s not a bad film. It’s well written, well observed and terrifically acted by its two leads, Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays. I’d watch Mays in anything: his shabby charm and eccles cake face bring a bright, robust reality to every part he plays. The music, by the brilliant Molly Nyman brings a welcome sense of scale. And it’s a hell of an achievement, shot in 18 days for just £100,000. But despite its virtues, Shifty‘s a dispiriting experience, because you can’t help feeling that you’ve seen it all before.

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