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  • Storyline: One young drug dealer tells his best friend 'You owe me a hundred bags of scrilla(?), I want it in two hours or I'll lick your head off, you get me blud?' Technically, a decent film. In every other aspect, garish, non-sensical, badly written, underdeveloped and frankly, embarrassing.

    A film glamorising what, personally, I feel to be the Achilles heel of Britian, inner city gang culture. Absolutely no message here, no redeeming aspects of any of the thugs depicted (and all are thugs), who are constantly unlikable. I'd like to hear an argument that the filmmaker condemns the behaviour depicted here.

    I felt that the hip-hop musical numbers scattered about the story actually contributed to the mood of the film, whether this is a good thing, I'm not sure. At one point, as mentioned by another reviewer, the gang perform a rap at a bunch of civilians sitting in a fast food restaurant, the gist of it being 'You clutch your handbags because you assume we'll rob you due to us being black'... Now, I feel I must mention that this gang have pistols in their belts whilst they rap this, not to mention a bag of drug money on one of their backs.

    One type of person will go to see this at the cinema. The type depicted in this disgraceful film... and those cinemas should expect trouble, especially only rated at 15.

    I apologise that this isn't an in-depth review, I simply refuse to give it any more time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As musicals go, this hip hop effort from Penny Woolcock pulls no punches, but doesn't quite emotionally connect. A cocky young guy owes money to someone higher up the chain, the story follows him through the mean streets as he desperately tries to get the money to pay this guy back. Along the way he connects with a child who wants to get onto the first rung of the ladder, the three mothers of his various children, his own mother and grandmother in a snapshot of the two sides of life at the bottom of the heap.

    One of the main problems is that unless you are really "in" the hip hop world, a great deal of the dialogue is incomprehensible. The action is easy to follow, but the subtleties are lost on most people over the age of thirty, which down-grades the moments of poignancy considerably. And Flash is such an unlikeable character! At one point he even steals back the jewellery he gave to his girlfriends. Another problem is that the intentions of the big set pieces in the film are so telegraphed that you can predict with pin-point accuracy what is going to happen before it does. The moment that the little side-kick drops the gun on the sofa, you know how the confrontation in the multi-storey is going to pan out.

    I really wanted to like this. It really is okay to have a main character who is unlikeable, but you need something sympathetic to draw on and there really wasn't anything to hook into. Even as a bold statement the film doesn't quite catch it, because there's too much predictability in the outcome. I came away feeling mostly dissatisfied. Disappointing.
  • Yay, just what the world was waiting for.. the first grime musical!! Yes, you heard it right.. the actors regularly break into profanity laden raps (complete with backing track) about how much they hate others and the variety of ways they're going to kill their enemies, and I have it say it works quite well. Apparently the cast wrote their own lyrics too, which makes it doubly impressive.

    Less certain however, is the acting, which ranges from reasonable to just plain diabolical. I supposed that's what you get when you hire non-professional stars for 'authenticity'. Also, the movie is just one big chase sequence after the first quarter of an hour, with bizarre comedic asides involving Flash's three bitchy baby mothers and his senile but domineering granny.

    It's completely unbelievable in every aspect, but somehow fun.. to a point. After the umpteenth foul-mouthed musical interlude, and yet another scene of Flash running from his pursuers, things get a little tiresome. They try to show some social realism as well, like a homeless young boy who has to steal for a living because his mum spends all her time at the local crack house, but this just comes over as window dressing.

    I have a feeling that it will be fully appreciated by those who share the same music tastes as the participants, or supporters of yoof cinema who think the current crop are just too sanitised. Otherwise, it's just like an extended, after-the-watershed episode of Eastenders, with a dash of Dizzee Rascal (before his pop career started) thrown in for good measure. Does that sound like fun? If so, take a look. 5/10
  • STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

    Flash (Dylan Duffus) receives a phone call from Angel (Yohance Watson), who's just been released from prison, telling him to re-pay quite a large loan in the next twenty four hours...or there'll be repercussions. So begins a desperate race against time to secure the money and all the while, try to dodge other problems in his life.

    I'm glad 1 Day found it's way onto DVD, being as in the city it is filmed, where I live, Birmingham City Council found it in their wisdom to issue a ban on it in cinemas, for the terrifying fear that hordes of black youths may swarm to see it and get converted into gang members. Such petty, pompous over-reaction is what you can expect from the clueless people in power but eventually everything finds it's way into sight. Needless to say, being filmed around my stomping ground, it was fun to spot and pick out landmark locations and see it put on the map cinematically. But that's the most fun I did manage out of it.

    At heart a tough, grimy urban thriller, the film also seems to have aspirations of being a musical. People walked out in droves over Sweeney Todd's musical numbers, but I found it more of a problem here. I know this is very much my personal opinion, but I felt the musical interludes ruined it and robbed it of some of it's dynamism, however authentic the harsh, gravelly lyrics and delivery were. It's your typical back-of-the-bus music and made a film already uncomfortably shoving the nastier aspects of black culture in your face harder to stomach. It's got everything right in terms of dialogue and delivery too, with the street slang and patois used by the main characters sounding very real too, but it doesn't make them any more likable or the experience any more enjoyable for anyone from the outside looking in.

    The singing aside, 1 Day manages a very real and well realized harsh dose of real life...but if these are the kind of people you don't want to see in real life, it's just one you won't want to watch again. **
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The acting was superb, I found the adult actors and actresses very believable in their roles. The quality of the production was excellent, in fact it was better than most urban/gangland films that I've seen here in America with relatively unknown actors/actresses. The Hip-Hop/Grime musical sprinkled throughout the movie was very much welcomed after the first performance, as I've stated before the actors/actresses are really talented. Many people will be looking for a message within the film and probably won't find one. This was a window into the life of a young man who was in over his head and the type of characters and drama he was surrounded by. Believe it or not, not all thugs/gangsters reflect on their way of life and view it as downtrodden, It is was it is to some of them. As an American the slang used is different but based on the context of any dialogue it wasn't difficult to interpret.
  • Seeing as we have plenty of drugs gangs in Britain, it was inevitable that someone would make a film set amongst drug gangs in a Black community in an inner-city. This film follows Flash as he tries to pay off a debt to a drug dealer. He must also deal with three children from three different women, and his mother, who is a very bossy sort. There is some rapping in the film, especially in the first half. At one point, it felt like a musical: the gang go into a takeaway, the customers reach for their wallet and look nervous, and the gang start to rap about how they're not out to burgle everyone. There is one rap between two women towards the end, which I felt disrupted the flow of the film as he neared its climax.

    There is not much violence in the film, although the subject of guns is discussed at length in parts. I'm glad that it tried to be different from the numerous US gangland films. The film is made more distinctive through the slang used, which is typical of the Black community in Birmingham. It's worth seeing, but I've given it just 7/10 because it lacks a clear meaning. There's no special kick that makes it stay in your memory.
  • This movie covers the areas that have been missed by other film producers. The idea of using ex-gang members only makes the story more genuine and original. It's really well produced and the storyline is believable and it contradicts stereotypes associated with ex-gang members, as it shows another side to those who want to break free from the Birmingham gang lifestyle.

    The soundtrack to the movie is also original and authentic. It sets the mood and elevates the scene, with cast members 'spitting rhymes' from the grime scene, a genre, which originated among such gangs.

    Strongly recommend that you go and watch this film, it's an explosion of urban culture.
  • The film stereotypes black guys and families particularly West Indian families but I found it funny and enjoyed it. I think it had a good message in there, being a gangster is not all its hyped up to be and has serious life threatening consequences and there is no honour amongst thieves. Am a big hip-hop fan and was feeling the music from the female MC's in the film, not too sure about the male MC's though. The acting was a tad dodgy at times, especially the emotional parts, but overall a solid film with hopefully a positive message, don't do drugs (taking or selling), it ruins lives etc. Some UK media are trying to portray it as a film hyping up violence, drug dealing, gangster life etc, but I saw it for what it is, a film. Am black and my life is nothing like the guys in 1 Day. Watch it, you will either like it or hate it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I will start off by saying that the acting wasn't great, the plot was badly written and to be honest, in parts the film was grim and depressing. Other critics on this site have misunderstood the plot line, they say the film glamorizes the gang culture, well in some aspects it does, all the drug dealers and thugs have expensive cars, they wear expensive jewelry and have nice clean clothes. Money is glamorous and these men seem to have alright lives so i suppose that is attractive to some people. It would be wrong to say that the film glamorizes the gang culture because if you payed attention to the film you would've seen that (SPOILER ALERT!) all the gangsters (except one) died at the end after a gunfight in an underground car park.

    I wouldn't call the film inspirational but i thought it could've had potential with a bit more work. 8/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    OK, so I decided to watch a movie called 1Day which has caused controversy among cinemas in Birmingham thus not showing the movie in Birmingham but everywhere else. I agree with the cinemas when they said they wouldn't show the movie. The story is based around the gangs in Birmingham and is about a guy called Flash and his best friend/drug dealer tells him that if he doesn't get one hundred bags of 'scrilla' in two hours then he would 'lick him up, you get me blud?'…that's basically the story. One man trying to get his best mate's 'scrilla' otherwise he'd 'lick him up'.

    I thought this would be a lot like the brilliant Kidulthood and Adulthood but instead it's something negative and nasty in my eyes. Instead of trying to send a strong message about how young teenagers shouldn't join a gang, the movie did the exact opposite from my view. It looked like it was positive to join a gang as the thugs in the movie felt no guilt or remorse about their actions (bar one scene with Flash and his mother but he went right back to not feeling anything…again). The movie apparently sends a strong message about gangs but the only message I could see is that it's okay to be in one. I know they were trying to send a message that gang life isn't all it's cracked up to be but would the audience really see that in this movie? I would like to hear a comment from the filmmakers about what kind of message is being sent and where is it being shown? I mean, Flash was teaching a ten-year-old to rob, to shoot a gun, to sell drugs and make money, etc and Flash looked like he weren't bothered. There were some very small messages that started out good and then went back to being negative (like in the graveyard when they were visiting El Presidente's grave and then a gunfight started) but I doubt most people who will see this movie will actually see the messages as they didn't appear strong enough.

    Also, as mentioned before in a review, there was one particular scene that stuck out like a sore thumb in my head which was the part when they were in a fast food restaurant and one of the thugs raps about how, because he was black, a woman thinks he'd rob her because she clutches her handbag. Could the reason quite possibly be because you were loudly talking about drugs and murder and the fact that you had a gun on show with your hood up? Nah, it couldn't be, could it.

    The only thing good about the movie is the soundtrack. The songs in the movie kept the mood and the behaviour portrayed in the movie which is a positive thing. The acting is surprisingly good sometimes but other times it was just rubbish. The characters were instantly dislikeable and remained like that through the entire movie, there was no likable person in the movie whatsoever and none of the characters looked like they wanted out of their thuggish lives. The movie is badly written even though I can believe that this happens in real life. To watch this movie, you would need to understand street slang to fully understand what is being said in the movie.

    Honestly, my opinion of this movie is very negative. I don't believe it's showing a strong message about gangs and how it's not good to be in one. The messages are there but they're very weak. I can't see anyone liking this movie but two audiences and those are either chavs or the audience that are like the characters displayed in the movie and considering the certificate for this movie is only a 15, I expect the cinemas will have trouble on their hands.


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  • You could call this a 'hip-hopera', a mix of filmmaking and social work, or a shot in the arm for British independent cinema. Just don't call it Bugsy Malone with real bullets.

    Sporting equal measures of guts and integrity, 1 Day is the latest project from writer-director Penny Woolcock, whose critically acclaimed CV encompasses everything from guerrilla-style films ('Macbeth On The Estate') to full-blown operatic adaptations (John Adams' controversial 'The Death Of Klinghoffer').

    Those recalling the halcyon days of Channel 4 might also recall Woolcock's remarkable 'Tina Goes Shopping' from 1999, along with its follow-up, 'Tina Takes A Break'. Featuring lines like "Why is there a cow's head in the sink?!" and scenes in which a drug addict steals from his lover's handbag during a rowdy sex session, these bleakly funny dramas, shot on the most deprived estates in Leeds, make playwrite Jim Cartwright's 'Road' look like a teatime sitcom in comparison.

    One of the factors that gives the pair of Tinas and their belated threequel Mischief Night a genuine edge over other 'urban' films is Woolcock's regular insistence on casting from the street ("no experience necessary!" as her fliers say) - sourcing her cast from local residents, and uncovering some real natural talent in the process. (Some of whom, like Tina's Kelli Hollis, have even gone on to star in things like 'Shameless.') It certainly proves there's more to community workshopping than just a bunch of hippies staging puppet shows about tolerance.

    For 1 Day, Woolcock immersed herself in the Jamaican community in Birmingham, where she'd made 'Macbeth On The Estate' during the 1990s. "People scoot from London to Manchester or Glasgow and there's this big vibrant city in between that's completely ignored," she says. Then again, "I could have researched and shot this film in any town or city in the country, including 300 yards from where I live in London." As is often the case, the story behind the making of 1 Day sounds as intriguing as the film itself. Local rappers and musicians were sought out, then recalled for acting auditions. Lyrics were constructed around beats supplied by local producers, and a story based on real events organically emerged: a vivid, uncompromising saga of gangland warfare and drug dealing with "a clear moral message" states Woolcock, in which street hustler Flash (Dylan Duffus) desperately attempts to secure the money he owes his gang boss within 24 hours. On his tail is a rival gang, the cops, three bickering baby mothers - and Flash's churchgoing granny, played by the marvellous Monica Ffrench. Rather depressingly, it all ends up with a mass shoot-out in a Happy Shopper car park.

    Superficially, comparisons might be drawn with another classic from the Channel 4 vaults, the documentary 'Feltham Sings' (2002), with whom 1 Day shares a producer in Amy Flanagan. Here, the poet Simon Armitage supplied young inmates with autobiographically-tailored lyrics to songs ranging from bearable to magnificent ("Your mum says she'll visit, and suddenly she'll can't/so you're sat for an hour in the corner like a caahnt"). In one instance, however, Armitage didn't have a say in things: Cass Galton's 'This Is Me' rap remains a high point of the show.

    The difference here, of course, is that 1 Day's lyrics are entirely the rappers' own work. Due to the everyday syntax and rhythms of hip-hop and grime, it makes for a uniquely naturalistic musical, one featuring strikingly authentic and heartfelt performances from those with friends residing in the local graveyard.

    Ironically, West Midlands police informed the crew that the area's crime rate had actually fallen during the filming, as everyone was so engrossed in the production; although this hasn't prevented Odeon and Vue cinemas in Birmingham from dropping it in the week of release, following, they say, discussions with the police. For their part, local police strongly deny any such conversations ever took place.

    A treatment for a prequel to 1 Day called 'The Death Of El Presidente' has been prepared, along with 'Nobody Sleeps', a romance between a rapper and a soprano. Woolcock says she is "cautiously hopeful about making them both".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is nothing like a good musical story about rival gangs and just meeting a girl named "Maria." And this isn't it. The film opens with gangs singing hip-hop music. They wear bandanas of different colors to distinguish themselves. For me there were 2 groups, the golds and the blues/purples. I couldn't understand them when they were singing and yes English is my first language. When the spoke, it got slightly better as these Brits had a strong Jamaican/South African type accent for some reason.

    Flash (Dylan Duffus) is a hard working free lance pharmacist with 3 wives or "baby-mamas" and 5 kids to support. Did I mention the film stereotypes? He was entrusted with a half million pounds by Angel(Yohance Watson), when Angel went to prison. Angel gets an early release and wants all of his money...NOW! Flash, or Terrance as known to the pastor (Derek Webley) and family is short 100,000 pounds and has to come up with the money...which poses more problems and more gangstas after him, as well as more hip-hop music tossed at him.

    In this film, they actually shoot the gun holding it sideways. Flash talks about expanding his mind and activating his seven "shackles." At times it was hard to tell if the film makes fun of the gangsta culture or is a cry for help. This movie wasn't for me and I was confused about the message. It had a few interesting scenes, but not enough to hold my interest.

    F-bomb, no sex or nudity.
  • The last film from Penny Woolcock I saw was Exodus – a failed attempt to stage the story of Moses in Margate using real people as the majority of the cast. That film only sticks in my mind but the idea was good in terms of the creative process but yet it failed to work when it came to making a film. When I heard about 1 Day, the potential for me to end up saying the same thing seemed high because this is an urban drama thriller which is set in the world of Birmingham gangs, again casting real people without any need for experience acting. Did I mention it was also a musical? Well the action is also punctuated with UK grime scene tracks from the characters. It seemed to me like it may not work but since it was set in Birmingham I was interested to take a look.

    The film actually works pretty well as a straight thriller because the plot is essentially a race against time where Flash has to find the missing difference in the money he owes his boss or else get killed – all this while balancing the pressure from his family and his three babymothers. I liked this aspect of it because it did have a good pace to it and it did produce a rather exaggerated world of guns and gangs in a Midlands setting. It isn't the cleverest of scripts or the most thrilling of thrillers but I was reasonably interested in the overall flow of the story. The musical numbers don't really break this up too much and mostly they work – not all of them, but mostly they work. It helps I suppose that I personally like the music, but I can imagine that if you don't then they will only jar. The opening "through the streets" number is good but my personal favourites were the two babymothers (Justice and Lady Leshurr) going together – both had strong voices, impressive speeds and the lyrics were great.

    Others here have commented on the "negative presentation" of urban culture and there was added controversy when the film was removed from Birmingham cinemas in fears it would draw an audience from gangs and would produce trouble (even though the two gangs here are as fictional as the streets they represent). These two things gave me pause because in theory this film is no difference from loads of other crime thrillers – they all show crime, so why was 1 Day somehow giving gang culture a "voice" as opposed to just using it as a plot device? Well, the use of real people as actors suggests a documentarian edge. The musical numbers also prevents it being a full-on thriller. Mostly though, setting it in the very real world of Birmingham gangs perhaps suggest that it is giving the gangs an "outlet". I'm not totally sold on this but the film does have this rather unpleasant edge throughout because it is a little irresponsible in terms of content because it doesn't offer much in the way of condemnation while at the same also giving the characters a "voice".

    The best example of this is the track in the burger bar: this tracks has the 4 or 5 hoodies berating the (badly-acted and comical) frightened white customers for judging them on their looks and pulling their bags close etc. 3 minutes is given to the characters to make this point even though their actions in the rest of the film suggests that actually this is a perfectly correct assumption to make. It is also a shame that, although I liked the music, so much of it is violent and misogynist in content – which is why I liked the babymothers most perhaps, but it was clever and well used as a track.

    Overall 1 Day is not as bad as the score on IMDb currently suggests (3.9?). The basic plot is decent and the film has solid drama and pace to it, while I did also like the music and the way it worked within the film was much better than I expected. It does have a sense of the negative though and the use of "real" people and "real" locations suggest that the film is meant to have an element of "reality" to it but, beyond a humorous family meal and a preachy preacher, the vast majority of this reality is violent and negative. It has a limited appeal but if you are looking for an OK urban UK thriller or like your grime culture then this is actually worth a look.
  • I must say that I enjoyed this film! Very nice how the music had a big role in this movie, so stylish! I thought it was quite fast paced I'd say it's part drama and spiced up with little bit of action and comedy even.

    If there is a message, I'd say it was this. Gang lifestyle is tough and it will definitely have a great impact on your life span meaning the chances of you ending up six feet under are around 100% before your 25th birthday. It's fun to watch but don't do it yourself unless you are willing to accept the possible consequences.

    Anyway, the film was fresh kept me interested all the way. Also very nice rap freestyling, although they probably weren't freestyling 'cause the music is in the movie ,dah. Final words, street thugs if they're worthless at least they know how to express themselves in rhymes. Buckle up, buckle up 'cause this movie is gonna rock, LOL! Peace :D