18 December 2007 | davideo-2
Not too bad, I suppose
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
The story behind The Plague is a bit more interesting than the actual story itself, so here it is. Young film-maker Greg Hall, like many others before him, approached the Film Council to fund his debut feature and was promptly refused. Undettered, he went to all his close family and friends and managed to scrub together a mere £3,500 and his film saw the light of day after all. That's an inspiring story of hope and surviving against all odds in itself, which is more than is coming to the characters in the film.
There's no real plot here, the film just follows these four multicultural mates around as they amble their lives away on a tough South London housing estate, 'getting high and getting by.' But when the police start arresting and questioning them about their involvement in a fraud scam run by a mate of an Asian member of the group, everything threatens to fall apart. This approach has worked before, most notably in Trainspotting, but it's still dodgy to base a film around people just doing what they do rather than giving them a clear plot line to follow. It's about 15 minutes longer than normal films of this type and background, too. It's not overlong, just a bit unusual.
The characters are a bit more likable than I thought they'd be, still not the kind of people I'd like to know, but certainly not the scummy toerags I thought they'd be.
A film more heavy on image than story, then, but one you'll probably find yourself drawn into anyway, all rounded up on the end credits with Skinnyman's nice anthem Council Estate of Mind, which manages to explain more than the film actually does. ***