Paul Cook 26/08/2009
Eran Creevy's debut feature film Shifty with its typically hard hitting approach to drug crime and street culture is another in a long line of home grown British films to spring up and make you take notice. Like Noel Clarke's Kidulthood and Saul Dibb's Bullet Boy, Creevy's tale of a small time drug dealer's life spiralling out of control is both gritty and understated.
The fantastic partnership of Riz Ahmed as Shifty and Daniel Mays as Chris - 2 childhood friends gone separate ways - is one of the films greatest attributes. Completely natural, believable performances enable the film to flow from scene to scene and as the past catches up with Chris and the mounting pressures of a drug gang set-up begin to destroy Shiftys life the film builds to it's impactful climax.
Creevy proves himself as a talented director successfully pacing the film to achieve a sense of tension from the outset and shooting in a mix of thriller/drama and documentary styles. Unlike Bullet Boy which boasts beautiful interpretations of the urban landscape, Shifty is grimy and real aiming for a more grounded and ultimately more positive outlook on such culture. Whereas Clarke's film Kidulthood and Dibb's Bullet Boy end quite bleakly, Shifty, without ruining the ending, offers something a little different.
Shifty is intelligent and exciting and well worth a watch if you're a fan of British urban drama. Ahmed, despite a relatively unknown actor until now, gives a career-defining performance supported by a solid cast who give exhilarating, intense performances alike.
Shifty is available to buy and rent on DVD and Blu-Ray.