Chris Bouchard’s Hackney’s Finest is a darkly comic caper with much more violence, hard drug taking and serious swearing than you’d expect.
London's Burningby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Sirus (Nathanael Wiseman) is a courier controller and small-time drug dealer. He looks like a hipster and rides a motorbike. He gets his heroin from his Afghan friend Asif (Rajan Sharma), whose uncle imports it hidden in the fruit and veg for his business. Corrupt police officers (Arin Alldridge, ex-The Bill and Malcolm Tomlinson, a TV stalwart) want to get their hands on his warehouse stash for their own purposes and they blackmail Asif to set up a deal with Sirus to lead them to it. And while they stake out Sirus’s house, his customers, two Welsh-Jamaican dealers are on their way. Scene stealingly played by Marlon G Day and Enoch Frost as tougher than tough, entangled in patois and an armoury of serious weapons, they take control as Sirus soon finds himself out of his depth.
The film trades on Hackney’s reputation as a dodgy area in London’s East End, but in fact most of the action takes place in a prolonged shoot-out in Asif’s uncle’s empty warehouse in Tilbury docks. The police call up their army of psycopathic Eastern European heroin addicts who burst out of their van with manic aggression and Sirus and co are joined by Asif’s beautiful motorbike-leathers-clad and gun-toting cousin Pari (Neerja Naik), who is the only person who knows where the stash of drugs and money is. Cue much gunfire, double crosses, torture, multiple murders and kidnap. Though with all the attacks preceded by a quick pause for heroin smoking or injection, it’s surprising how any of them manage to get it together.
It’s the first feature from writer Thorin Seex and director Chris Bouchard (The Hunt For Gollum – the short film). Though a low-budget indie, it’s stylishly shot, particularly the opening sequence, perhaps because it’s produced in association with Framestore, the 2014 Academy award winning digital studio behind Alfonso Cuaran’s Gravity. It’s a fast moving fantasy in the hard East End mould, reflecting the London melting pot. It makes dark comedy out of corruption and excessive amounts of bloody violence – audiences will either take it as lightly as it is intended and enjoy the laid-back comedy or find it hard to stomach.
Hackney’s Finest is released on 3rd April 2015 in the UK