London Kills Me

Hanif Kureishi, the English screenwriter of Stephen Frears's My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, makes his directorial debut in a feature with his own script about a group of young drug dealers in the Portobello Road area of London. As in the earlier features, Kureishi displays an uncanny feeling for the everyday textures of contemporary life in London and a less confident sense about what his true subjects are. In this case, they're a street kid called Clint (Justin Chadwick) who's trying to secure a pair of shoes for his first day of work at a restaurant; his street boss Muffdiver (Steven Mackintosh), a downscale dandy who has a crush on Clint's old pal Sylvie (Emer McCourt); various customers and hangers-on; and an Indian sage (Roshan Seth), among others. While Kureishi's directorial technique doesn't always match his writing schemes, this is still recognizably his work, for better and for worse. At times a love story between Clint and Muffdiver, with Sylvie functioning as go-between, thought the closest the film comes to saying this directly is a scene bringing the three characters together in the same bathtub, an apparent allusion to Performance. With Fiona Shaw, Brad Dourif, Tony Haygarth, and Stevan Rimkus; the cast is uniformly fine, the story perpetually unresolved (1991).

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