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  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film is a rap musical about the lives of drug dealers and prostitutes on a London housing estate (i.e. social housing). It is the film debut of Ben Drew aka Plan B as a director and it is a tour de force. This film has one important message relayed over and over by images and lyrics: Look what happens to children when they are abandoned, neglected or abused by their parents and adults. It is such an important message and one that society pays lip service to without reflecting upon what it means. Even in an age well versed in psychology popular thinking undermines and denies the significance of events in very early childhood. Drew makes sure that his audience 'gets' this message. Not subtle but very gritty.

    The plot involves a set of characters with intertwined fates. We are introduced to three drug dealers: Chris (Lee Allan) a solitary operator and one of the 'Mr Bigs' on the estate, or 'manor', and Aaron (Riz Ahmed) and Ed (Ed Skrein) childhood friends from the same children's home, who are minor players and petty criminals. We are introduced to two prostitutes also: Michelle (Anouska Mond) another solitary operator routinely abused by all on the estate and Katya (Natalie Press) a woman from east Europe who has escaped the human traffickers that brought her to the UK. We learn through lyrics and flashback images the childhoods these characters have survived and the events that lead to their present predicaments. The plot unfolds cleverly bringing all together in a confrontation that proves fatal for one of them.

    Ben Drew intends that we understand what made the characters the people they are, perhaps even empathise with them, but not sympathise as such or feel sentimentality for them. This is one of the film's strengths. So Chris is presented as an antisocial person with no care or loyalty to anyone and Ed is a thug who mistreats Michelle just because he can.

    The acting is excellent from the cast, including the many minor roles. The soundtrack is fantastic and I bought the CD as I loved the music so much. The film ends with the searing track Falling Down that knots the intestines but my favourite to listen to as a stand along song is Drug Dealer (the story of Chris's life). Drew has used some young rap artists/singers guests on some of the tracks.

    The finale is shocking and sad in equal measures but the ending offers hope as three of the characters seem to have enough of an awakening to turn their lives around. Fittingly this occurs because of the plight of Katya's baby, underlining the film's focus upon young children and their need for adults to help them grow into healthy adults that can contribute to society in positive ways.

    My only reservation regarding the film is that if Ben Drew decides to make another film I'm not sure he has anywhere to go in bettering his debut.
  • Plan B is clearly not content with just being a famous rapper/singer/actor, as he has now tried his hand at directing, with his debut film ill Manors being released in cinemas today. Set in East London, the film follows a series of characters from drug dealers to prostitutes to runaway single mothers as they all struggle to survive in their poverty stricken area. As you can guess, this is not a happy-go- lucky sort of film, but nevertheless it's a very good film.

    The style taken is very much similar to Pulp Fiction (believe it or not), as each character gets their own little tale, and soon enough they begin to over-lap with one another, creating a sense of community, we see that everybody really does know each other, whether for good or bad. There is also a rapping narrator (played by Plan B himself) which really adds another dimension to the film, it sets itself apart from the usual ''urban drama'' with these little techniques. It's a very brutal film that doesn't hold back either, from violent murders to a woman being pimped out for £10 at a kebab shop, we see it all within 121 mins.

    Whilst it is an ''urban'' drama at the end of the day, the film does what Kidulthood/Adulthood/Shank could not do and has a go at actually trying to explore the reasons behind why people join gangs or decide to riddle their body with heroin. None of the central characters have parents, and the film suggests this lack of love creates the violence, it's essentially a film encouraging us to hug a hoodie. Outstanding performance goes to Riz Ahmed, who plays a gangster with some moral fibre trying to get out the area. The only negative is that the film tries to tell us too much, there's so many characters and stories happening that it's hard to keep track and some character get lost in the shuffle. But overall, recommended.

  • I've been coming to the TIFF for fifteen straight years, and all I can say is "wow!" If you've seen the trailers at IMDb and YouTube and been impressed, rest assured that the movie more than delivers on what they promise.

    The movie was made on a shoestring, and is quite possibly the greatest shoestring movie ever … I sure can't think of any other low budget film that can touch this. If I can luck out on a rush ticket Saturday, it will be the first time I've ever seen a movie TWICE at the festival, (I have a feeling that this film will take time to reach the American market – perhaps being toned down in the process -- and I've GOT to see it again.)

    This is certainly a helluva directing debut for musician Ben Drew (a.k.a. Plan B) who also wrote the pulsating soundtrack. I've never seen music more effectively tied to visuals than here, whether they're real time, time lapse, or stop action. Especially effective are transitional passages staged as rap music videos.

    There's plenty of great acting too, thanks to a large talented ensemble cast of relative unknowns. Especially impressive Is Riz Ahmed as the character who bridges several interconnected stories about life on the mean streets of East London over a several day period. And in a knockout debut, young Ryan De La Cruz is incredible as a naïve 13-year-old out to buy some weed who gets transformed into a killer in a very believable way.

    The realism is astounding. I've seen movies like ARGO and END OF WATCH at the fest, and while they were certainly well-made, they seem overly stagey in comparison (although, to be fair, just about ALL movies do). I voted this for best picture on my way out – I know that nothing I'm going to be seeing from this point on is going to top this.

    Not for the genteel, faint-of-heart, or British accent-averse, but if you're none of the above, prepare yourself for a real treat. Never a dull moment! Feel free to base your expectations on the available trailers and videos – they don't deceive in the slightest.
  • cjscahill26 October 2012
    Ill Manors is a film that does far more than just push the boundaries previously set by British films such as Kidulthood, Adulthood and Harry Brown, of which Ben Drew played key roles in. It bends moral boundaries to a level rarely seen before in British cinema, even when the character does things for the 'greater good', the brutality of the streets re balances the already lop sided scales back into darkness, corruption and greed.

    A fantastic blend of black and white re winds, flash backs and present time, in a style similar to that of Pulp Fiction where each characters story gets told and varied perspective on events is shown, on this poor and heartless council estate in London. Narration in the form of a truly brilliant soundtrack by Plan B, and although a surprisingly low amount is used, it makes it all the more effective. The film may seem too much to handle and over worked – this couldn't be any further from the truth. What also impressed me was the micro budget Plan B had to work with, and the way he managed to produce such a professional piece with it - he saves a large amount by recruiting local musicians and up and coming actors/actresses to play key roles, though they play them as naturally and effective as any world-renowned star. Throw in some fantastic performances from the young members of the cast, and Ben was on to a winning formula.

    The gritty realism will undoubtedly be difficult for some people to even view, let alone understand or relate to. The films climax is one of the most unforgettable and unpredictable I have ever seen in recent years. The extent to which this film impressed and shocked me, in the standard in which is was created, the plot, characters, and actors involved, means Ill Manors easily waltzes into my top 3 of the year so far.
  • The film is an incredibly accurate portrait of that kind of environment. It wasn't two-dimensional in that the characters weren't just purely evil – the good in them also showed. I've met all those characters in the course of my work. The little boys terrorised into joining the criminal network are just so real. It demonstrated what I keep telling people: don't say a child chooses to join a gang; there is no choice. The cycle of brutalisation, with kids brutalising kids, the girl fights, all of it is so accurate.

    I want to get a copy of this film and deliver it to the prime minister and say: "This is another bit of your country that you don't talk about, you don't see, but nevertheless, large numbers of children and young people are trapped in this life." I've already spoken to an MP. I want to organise a showing in parliament. I'm going to call Plan B's people and see if they'll make it happen. For the past 16 years I've been trying to describe what these kids' lives are like. It's very difficult for people to visualise the way they live.
  • jezebel-j2 November 2012
    Considering that a year ago I had never listened to a Ben Drew (Plan B) track, dismissing him out of hand as yet another rap/hiphop wannabe, and today regarding him as a genuine multi-talented prodigy is an honest tribute to his unbelievably versatile creativity.

    Due in part to the perfect format of a rap narration, in part to the fact that this is a man with his finger FIRMLY on the pulse of a disaffected sector of society and in part to the unforgiving art and poetry of the writing, direction and art direction, I feel that this is a modern masterpiece.

    Consider again that this is a directorial debut and was achieved on a budget of merely £100,000, it's almost genius.

    John Cooper Clarke, rather surprisingly for me, adds the perfect complementary poetic touch; I had forgotten quite how uncompromising and bleak his words can be.

    Reminiscent of Clockwork Orange in its brutal beauty,the story is realistic to the immorality and just plain incomprehension of the consequences within an "underclass" subculture, yet the characters are so finely drawn and portrayed that you feel not only sympathy, but you feel a part of their hopelessness and helplessness.

    There was one scene I couldn't watch (no spoilers); watching with my 19 y o daughter, she remarked that it was the first time in a long time that a film had affected her emotionally. She is braver than me for doing it is impossible to un-see anything, so I could not bring myself to watch.

    Absolutely beautiful, sad, horrifying and harrowing. Ben Drew, I take my hat off to you and can't wait for the next thing to come out of your remarkable mind.
  • seany_c24 June 2012
    Saw this the other week at the cinema. Watch a film. Although this type of film has been done before with the likes of 'Kidulthood' and so on, but the material has never been fresher. I'm not Plan B's biggest fan music wise. I think he's very talented and my girl loves him, but I'm more into my underground grime rather than commercial. I did, however, think he did a good job in 'Adulthood' and 'Harry Brown' so I'm guessing I'm more into his acting than his music. And I'm hoping to see a lot more after this. It's the story of different characters who connect in some way or another. Each story filled with tragedy and each character dealing with issues. Plan's B's singing narration before each story is brilliant. This won't be for everyone. There's crackheads, prostitution, pedophiles, drugs and violence but there's also an incredible empathy for even the most horrible characters. There's also some good humour too. The acting's fantastic. With some faces you know and some you don't, each performance is bang on. Overall a deep, very well made film with terrific performances and a truly original style. ****/*****
  • I can only assume that people didn't like this film because it was too dark, or it simply wasn't their type of film.

    If you like films like Kidulthood & Adulthood I can promise you will LOVE this.

    I personally thought it was better than the above said films.

    Not only was it very well produced and directed, the acting was top notch! I've never seen (or noticed) Ed Skrein in a film before, and he played his part perfectly - Totally believable, and basically a right nasty piece of work.

    All the other parts were played excellently too(with maybe the exception of Kirby's character)

    It had a great story that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end, it is shocking, harrowing,and some good humor was thrown in too.

    After it finished, I text a handful of friends (who I knew would like it) and told them to watch it asap.

    Nuff said, 10/10
  • This film quite literally blew me away and had I listened to some of the posts off here, I possibly could of missed out!

    Personally, judging by the posters who have come on here to discuss this film, I think the film has inadvertently aimed itself or been swept into the wrong market. It seems it is being judged by the people who are unfortunately incapable of grasping the brilliance of it all.

    Despite being set in a similar environment, this film is not another 'Kidulthood' and tackles much more deeper questions about morality. 'Kidulthood' was aimed solely at the people it portrayed such as the teens and young adults who live in these areas. For me, 'Ill Manors' is for a more mature market and is a harrowing message that should be seen by the masses and the more privileged of us out there who need a window to peer through in order to grasp the horrors that take place right on our doorstep. It is also for the real movie lovers out there who want to be taken on a roller coaster ride and really feel the angst and despair that these true to life characters have to go through just to survive. Without question, this film will take you in from the first minute and drag you into the hurricane that is the working class of London where you have no idea how or where you will end up.

    From a spectacle point of view, this film is breathtaking one minute and the so raw the next that you will feel the need to look away.

    I can quite readily say that I did not expect nothing close to what I saw and I am extremely glad that I took the time to check this brilliant film out.

    9/10 for me.
  • marlenefreema3 June 2012
    What a shame! I was looking forward to this, as I am a single mother who has lived on a council estate my entire life.

    I also quite like Plan B, as my son is a huge fan and I quite like his intelligence as a musician/rap artist.

    I was invited to the premiere by my cousin who worked on the movie. He loved it! Not sure how objective he can be though.

    It is realistic in the sense that the events do happen in real life. And some of the acting is actually quite good.

    But much like Kidulthood and other mediocre attempts at portraying Council Estate life on film, it only shows one shade of the story.

    The grim is coupled with the opposite in real life. It is not all doom and gloom etc. I actually doubt how much these young filmmakers seem to know about the complexity of working class life in urban poor London, which I know a lot about.

    There is light, there is humour, there is love, there is fun. Show that also! There is more than one shade in the 'endz'. Stop only showing darkness. It is inaccurate and insulting to people such as myself who love films and come from the world they want to portray and make money out of.

    I am glad movies are getting made about my world. But please show the whole spectrum.
  • That powerful piece of work astonished me. A real hit in the face. More a social drama, bloody, brutal at the most, more than a thriller - which is absolutely not - or a common crime flick. Anyway nothing to do with the other UK crime films, craps, which are directly released in DVD, craps that try to look like Tarantino or Guy Ritchie's movies. The guy who made this gave all his guts, his wrath, his pain, his soul, his blood. Poignant scenes, moving sequences, British are really the masters in the social field: see Ken Loach.
  • A surprisingly well made film. The rapping narration adds an original edge to the movie. Compared to 'adulthood.' there is a lack of humor in this one. there is a darkness to each subplot. and as the film develops the moral depth increases. One one level there is the satanic message of 'vengeance is the original sin,' and the film does its best to deliver this to the viewer amidst urban blood-lust. There are a couple of references in camera-work to the Texas chainsaw massacre and taxi driver. the pacing is similar to harry brown. but without the chess like strategy. instead everything falls together like a stream of karma. where harry brown nods to the stephen Lawrence case,ill manors goes more into people this way it shares the vemon of ' taken.' some scenes take a culture of 'meatholes.' and 'heavy-r' and give you a side step view into this disease of female exploitation. it is done in a realistic yet artistic way. with a cultural hint of the terrible crimes towards young girls in the north of england earlier this year.

    compared to eight mile this film has the same 'hip -hop.' street vibe, but this being a UK film , everything takes a more claustrophobic eeriness. with some of the footage shot on mobile phones, as a viewer i was left thinking of the similarity to cannibal holocaust in the point of view direction in parts of the movie. ill manors-a document on current the social structure of the western world and the dog eat dog mentality the fuels it.

    as ben drew goes into the world of advertising i would recommend this it is not a particularly marketable piece of art. and for that i respect it..
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wasn't looking forward to this at all. It looked like it was some pop star who had just fallen in the right place, and wanted to cash in on his fame.

    But, I never really knew who 'Plan B' was really, apart from some dodgy pop songs.

    How wrong I am though, and it a lot for me to admit i'm wrong. Ill Manors is easily one of the most disturbing 'urban' movies I have seen in a while. heavily influenced by the two Clarkes Noel and Alan, Drew has given us a film that oozes propaganda and pleas.

    The film interlinks three stories, just Like Pulp Fiction, and the narrative is the fantastic haunting soundtrack.

    Ahmed is as good as he always is, but is let down by some of the cast, who are just poor in their roles. These people stay in character all through the film, whereas in real life, is just a facade for the street.

    The imagery is stark, especially in the baby rescue scene, and it really does deliver it's message, very bluntly.

    On a 100k budget, Drew has made a very professional looking movie, and I look forward to seeing what he has to give us next.
  • I don't like to write many reviews, but when I discover a movie that I think it is underrated, it makes sense to write about it:)

    Although there are many characters, you do not get to know very well any of them and at the same they all have something in common: a horror east-London story-line that tangles them.

    I guess the movie seems very rough and tough from many points of view, specially to someone who has not been in that part of London, nor has seen anything similar. To all the other ones, this seems to be just another slice of live that brings up sometimes the worst and best of people.

    There is a positive message in the end, but have to through hell and back before you get there!

    I am having hard time recommending the movie, although from technical point of view it was almost without flaw, mainly because the abuse of using too many sad stories at the same time. Limiting the number of main characters to only 2-3 would've had the same effect.

    Anyway, kudos to the director for a well done movie, albeit I will never want to watch it again...
  • Im originally from London and spent many a year on estates getting into all sorts.As someone else rightly said on here, there's good and bad and there's a lighter side to the dark side, in fact its mainly middle ground with episodes of badness and episodes of coming together, but films have to take a story and this story was to depict the it or not.

    It does this in such an astoundingly clever way that it cannot fail in delivering a very disturbing story - one that will shock all that watch it. The film mixes gritty poetic lyrics with the masterful sound of PlanB which sets the tone for the dark story. The characters are so strong in this film and heightened with the occasional lyrical back story to really help show some history it drags you (weather you want to or not) smack bang into the center of the action.A particular favorite of mine was Kirby. This guy and the story around him is basically the beating heart of the tale. Kirby seemed to be on route to something far more sinister ...had he actually managed to get that far. The camera work and post production are top class with some really nice 'cut aways' that all contribute to set the scene and mix tones.

    Obviously there are many visually harrowing scenes so don't watch this movie if you are expecting an episode of east-enders. One of my favorite UK gangster/drug/life drama movies of all time..and I don't say that lightly. Maximum respect to the actors and of course the Director, Story writer, production and crew.
  • I ain't gonna beat around the bush here, Ill Manors is one of the best films I have seem in a long long time, If like me, you enjoy British drama's like kidulthood, adulthood & wild bill, then this is a definite!! The acting is superb and very believable.

    The Story itself shows a very harrowing tale of different peoples lives living in London, There are drugs, Gangsters, Violence, the lot. But it is very gripping and has you engrossed right from the start til the very end. After watching it, I was in total shock on how much of a Epic film I had just seen. It is THAT Good!!! I would recommend this to any British film fan, it's a must see!! :D
  • Easily one of the best films I've ever seen. Can't say that I enjoyed it, as it's so real it's almost like watching a documentary. Tragic that the contents of this movie are the sad facts of life as experienced daily by the underclass in the UK. Couldn't take my eyes of it...
  • lurpak12 October 2012
    It has been a while since I have been spirited to write a positive review on a film, I'm always drawn though to gritty British street drama by the likes of Shane Meadows(This is England, Dead Man's Shoes) and Guy Richie, and now I have Ben Drew to look out for. The film borrows the integrating of separate lives genre such as used in Magnolia and Lock Stock with a Rap music throughout, now had I have know that it used rap music in that way I probably would have avoided it like the plague as rap music is just tedious to me under normal circumstances, but the lyrics which add narrative to the story and backgrounds of the characters is superbly done and despite my prejudice on rap music I have to hold my hands up and say "I have been educated" other music is well chosen and builds nicely to the feel at the time of use in the playout. All acting is good especially so from the lead characters, Chris, Aaron, Ed played by Lee Allen, Riz Ahmed & Ed Skien Respectively. I am shocked however to find according to IMDb that this is Lee Allen's only production...Wow! impressive I'm sure he's going to become one of Britain's household names. If you like this sort of British drama, go see, you will not be disappointed and well done to all concerned.
  • This is a gut-wrenching, terrifying, exciting, horrible, tear-jerking, angst-ridden and all in all amazing journey into the seedy, but not wealthy underworld of London. Into the "broken Britain" that is imagined but rarely ever seen.People getting by on crime because they have nothing else.

    To be honest you may get confused and think it's a gangster flick, an action flick, a thriller. But it's truly a drama with those elements thrown in. It won't disappoint. Everyone's everywhere between a decent to an excellent actor. The story has many twists, turns and crossed signals. Very well written, cut, filmed and directed.

    It may appeal more to someone who's got a connection to London, I do, but I don't know if that's got anything to do with it, but it's already a favorite of mine.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    when i first seen the trailer for ill manors i cant say i was too exited, i thought it was gonna be another kidulthood type of film, and i was very surprised at what i got, the movie is the British equivalent of 'mean streets'. a no holds barred look at lower end of the underworld, it's grimy, depressing, funny and shocking all in equal measure. the cast in this movie is brilliant, and are all convincing as some tough guys you wouldn't want to mess with, the movie is at times violent, but in a more realistic way, than i suppose the ott violence of 'rise of the footsoldier' or 'outlaw', there are some quite shocking moments, and the movie is quite ambitious and it feels like a mini epic, much like 'rise of the footsoldier', this movie is not as good or well made as that movie, but its miles above most movies of it's type, and is a great British gangster movie, that looks at the dirtier side most movies don't, not all gangsters are rich with nice cars, some are merely gangsters because its an easier way of life. the movie is directed by rapper plan b, and he clearly knows his subject matter well, as there is an undeniable realism to the movie, and he incorporates his music into the film well, yet never feels like a vanity project, it is a very well made and gritty crime drama, and i recommend
  • Plan B is a brilliant rapper and an excellent writer. Ill manors is a good film and is unique from the other films that portray life in London street life. Plan B writes cleverly from the different perspective of how the people live in the London street life and the storyline is brilliant in how the character meet together. The soundtrack is also good with some of Plan B's music. Watch Ill Manors.
  • Saiph9024 March 2013
    If ever there was a compare and contrast this was it for me this weekend, on Friday night I watched this movie which was made for £100,000 and on Saturday watched the truly terrible Battleship which was made for $209,000,000. The former has sharp dialogue, really great believable acting, well paced, gritty, dark and in a lot of ways thought provoking about the dysfunction in inner cities. The latter had me wanting the aliens to win and remove Taylor Kitsh from the screen.

    Go and see Ill Manor, it is how films should be made and it is made on a pittance compared to most films and shows a good script well handled and with excellent acting is better than some computer generated rubbish.
  • Ill Manors is a realistic drama with intermittent blasting rap music in between the various drug dealing, pimping, hooking and other bad behavior over the course of two hours. It starts off with apparently disconnected segments with hustlers of every sort involved in illegal activities. The high point is when a prostitute leaves her newborn baby on a train, where the lead pusher, Aaron(Riz Ahmed) ends up showing some real empathy for a change when he takes the little tyke home and searches for the mother, while his cohorts see the situation as an opportunity to make some quick easy money. The final fifteen minutes make the wild ride well worth it in the end. Ahmed is a star in the making, and the entire cast is absolutely perfect. Life is complicated, and Ill Manors portrays it with an unforgiving eye.
  • STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

    The directorial debut of hot new hip hop/acting star Ben Drew centres on a series of interwoven stories, of various different characters caught up in a grimy underworld centred around a South London housing estate, where guns, drugs and prostitution are the order of the day. The trouble is, none of these stories are linked together, and without a solid story line, the narrative flow is inevitably a bit messy.

    I'd listened to the Ill Manors album before I saw the film, and was aware the tracks were basically the soundtrack to it, with each song provided to the different segments introducing each story. They on their own were undeniably raw and hard hitting, and demonstrated why Drew (in his Plan B mode) emerged as such a major hip hop talent. Somehow, rather than enhance it, they seem to have sucked in all the unflinching power of Drew's creative banks, and left a film that fails to generate any dramatic impact or tension, and feels like a damp squib compared to what was promised. I'd hazard a guess most of the cast were probably first time actors, or maybe even just real life council estate kids Drew knew who he just hired for authenticity, and it shows in their performances, a few of which are just really unconvincing and flat. Somehow, the whole thing ends up dragging on for nearly two hours, by which time self indulgence has just gone right out the window.

    Drew has proved himself a really amateurish director, with an equally amateurish cast and crew, and produced a film that doesn't manage to cast a dramatic light on a really seedy and depressing section of society, however convinced it seems that it has. **
  • Watching this on the TV totally absorbing Brilliantly filmed and gritty These are normally ott but this is so realistic,great dialogue and Cinematography Portrays up the stuggle to survive amidst all the drug related events of everyday life One of my favourites and the background score is totally raw and in sync with the films subject
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