Brotherhood (15)



Drama (2016)
105mins UK

Starring: Jason Maza, Olivia Chenery, Noel Clarke, Ashley Thomas
Director: Noel Clarke
Writer(s): Noel Clarke
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

It has been eight years since Sam Peel concluded his prison sentence and he has pieced his life back together with the help of his lawyer girlfriend Kayla, their two children and his best friend Henry. Ghosts of the past return to haunt Sam in the form of vengeance-seeking thug Uncle Curtis and local gangland leader, Daley. Faced with losing everything, Sam calls upon Henry and some unexpected allies to join him in a hard fought battle for supremacy.

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LondonNet Film Review
Brotherhood (15)

Third time's no charm for director, writer and actor Noel Clarke as he concludes his streetwise London-set trilogy, which began 10 years ago with Kidulthood and continued forlornly two years later with Adulthood. The final chapter is self-indulgent and lacks dramatic momentum, with a sluggish running time that feels considerably longer than 105 minutes. The youthful swagger and urgency of earlier pictures has completely evaporated from Brotherhood, which returns to the unforgiving streets of the capital in the company of a beleaguered father, who is trying to break the cycle of violence that landed him in prison...

Brotherhood. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: Noel Clarke stars as Sam in Brotherhood, directed by Noel Clarke. Photo: Rob Baker. All Rights Reserved.Clarke's penchant for spewing 20 words of dialogue when five will suffice is still in evidence and at least one scene teeters on the brink of risibility for its tearful earnestness. The script gives pitifully short shrift to the female characters, who are two-dimensional and repeatedly objectified. Clarke relishes superfluous shots of sex workers strutting around naked or performing degrading acts. Were it not for a memorable supporting turn from Arnold Oceng and an amusing running gag about the desirability of a supermarket reward card, this would be an interminable slog from beginning to laughable end.

Sam Peel (Clarke) has pieced his life back together following his spell behind bars with the help of his mother (Adjoa Andoh), lawyer girlfriend Kayla (Shanika Warren-Markland) and their two children. "My job is to protect and provide for this family," Sam angrily tells Kayla when she questions his commitment to their future. Ghosts of the past return to haunt the former jailbird when gun-toting thugs shoot his brother and leave behind a threatening message that reads WE'RE NOT DONE. It transpires that old adversary Uncle Curtis (Cornell John) and local gangland leader Daley (Jason Maza) are determined to lure Sam back to the dark side by threatening the safety of his loved ones. A femme fatale called Janette (Tonia Sotiropoulou) tests Sam's loyalty, while Daley unleashes his underlings including the menacing Hugs (Leeshon Alexander) and whip-smart Poppy (Rosa Caduri). Faced with losing everything, Sam feels he has no choice but to revert to threats and intimidation to survive, and he calls upon wisecracking best friend Henry (Oceng) as his brother in dire straits. "It's funny," angrily remarks Kayla. "You keep saying you want to protect us, but who's going to protect us from you?"

Brotherhood is one slice of gritty urban angst too far for Clarke. The leading man puts himself through an emotional wringer without once tugging our heartstrings. John's supporting turn as the vengeance-seeking antagonist is one wide-eyed snarl short of thigh-slapping pantomime villain. Explosions of violence don't always serve the ramshackle narrative and any pertinent moral conundrums about meeting force with greater force are lost amidst the navel-gazing and gratuitous nudity.

- Jo Planter

Brotherhood. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: Noel Clarke stars as Sam in Brotherhood, directed by Noel Clarke. Photo: Rob Baker. All Rights Reserved.


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