Directed by: Femi Oyeniran & Kalvadour Peterson
Starring: Dylan Duffus, Scorcher, Shone Romulus
There are more low budget British gangster thrillers around than anyone ever need see. Attempting to make one is either a big gamble or a very lazy way to churn out by-the-numbers crime drama. Unfortunately, The Intent falls into the latter category, bereft of ideas and hamstrung by poor writing, flat direction and a few too many hammy performances.
Things get off to a bad start in the opening scene. A young child sits fondling a gun in slow-motion, while a portentous voiceover prattles on about intent with ethereal music playing in the background. From there it’s straight to the streets of South London where Hoodz (Scorcher), Gunz (Dylan Duffus), D’Angel (Shone Romulus) and Mitch (Femi Oyeniran who also directs with Kalvadour Peterson and writes with Nicky Slimting Walker) are about to move into the armed robbery business. They hold up a convenience store, but not without tragic results that see Mitch walk away and find God.
After this success, the remaining members form TIC (Thieves in the Community), and launch into a meteoric rise as they rob their way to riches and notoriety. Except someone isn’t quite who they seem, and all that comes up must eventually come back down, in bloody and violent fashion.
Although most of it is a letdown, not everything in Oyeniran and Peterson’s film is bust. The soundtrack is frequently exhilarating and a couple of performances stand out. Grime artist Scorcher has great screen presence, switching deftly between menacing and protective as gang leader Hoodz. Duffus, as his trusty sidekick, stays in one gear all the time, but there’s a snarling doggedness to Gunz that suits the film. Aside from Jade Asha who makes the most of a small role that unfortunately pivots on ridiculous coincidence, no one else does anything to distinguish themselves.Sometimes the acting veers from forgettable to actively bad. Line delivery is often poor, stripped of emotion as if being read from a teleprompter. It doesn’t help that the dialogue itself is hard to wring much from. A large part of The Intent seems to consist of everyone declaring themselves to be family. They waste so much time doing this it’s a wonder anyone manages to rob anything. When they do get around to a spot of crime, it’s often in barren industrial sites, bland and uninteresting. More than one showdown takes place in a seemingly empty room, for budgetary reasons no doubt, but it doesn’t add anything to an incomplete world.
Oyeniran and Peterson’s direction is also lacking, lapsing into a sub-par music video rip-off on more than one occasion. Slow motion is employed far too often, odd angles pop up, and late in the day a flashback is used to hammer home a very obvious connection that’s already been made. Technical deficiencies aside, the entire film is an amalgamation of bits from countless crime thrillers, thrown together without care. By the time The Intent drags itself full circle and ends, one thing is clear. The intent to make a good film might have been there, but the end result falls a long way short.
The Intent is in cinemas, digital & DVD from 29th July 2016.