A British gangster movie made by a bunch of English grime artists doesn’t instantly generate the impression you are about to witness the Get Carter of the 21st century. There aren’t many musicians who have successfully made the transition from ProTools to Final Cut, but as Sting, Jennifer Lopez, Alanis Morissette and even Courtney Love have shown, it’s not impossible. Unfortunately, with The Intent, Dylan Duffus, Scorcher and co have produced such an absolute duffer of a movie it makes Mick Jagger’s Ned Kelly look award worthy.
Tired of bringing in moderate amounts of money from dope dealing around their South London estates, gangster crew TIC (Thieves In the Community) decide to move into the substantially more profitable armed robbery game. TIC members Hoodz (Scorcher), Gunz (Duffus), D’Angel (Romulus) and Mitch (Oyeniran) debut their new found career in a local corner shop where Hoodz needlessly shoots the shopkeeper in the chest, killing her instantly in front of her family. Mitch, a religious man, is disgusted by Hoodz’s disregard for human life and instantly leaves the group, while the other three continue to wreak daily gun havoc across a number of shops and garages, bringing in increasing amounts of booty. Eventually they manage to steal over a million pounds from big-hitting local dealer Big John. This leaves Big John understandably infuriated and he instructs rival gang The Clappers to discover who stole his money and deliver them to him, dead or alive. The rest of the story takes the predictively imitative plotline of a gang of youngsters flaunting their newly acquired money on coke, lap dancers and cars while quickly getting out of their depth with more established gangs.
The one instantly striking detail of The Intent is the utterly diabolical level of acting on display. The fact that none of the characters are trained actors and ply their trade in the music industry is simply not a good enough excuse for this type of embarrassment. Someone also needs to explain to the writers here that a lack of acting ability cannot be made up for with excessive swearing. Akokhia’s Sergeant Rebecca Smith is particularly at fault here; not one badly delivered line goes by without at least three awkwardly unnecessary F-bombs and a nasty old Big C thrown into her update meetings.
The Intent feels like a brand-building exercise set to a clumsily cellotaped derivative collection of music videos. The soundtrack is unsurprisingly used to enhance the coolness of the protagonist’s post-crime motorcycle getaways, yet also to compliment the brutal murder of an elderly Pakistani shopkeeper. What are the writers attempting to express as acceptably hip here? Is mindless murder as groovy as riding big motorcycles in slow motion with a sack full of money? Is this what the artists had in mind when writing their tunes; vicious armed robbery? Whether personally agreeable or not, enraged music used to accentuate specifically directed anger in the style of NWA or RATM is one thing, mindless violence against innocence people is another and doesn’t sit well at all.
Even with a script of the swirling complexity of The Usual Suspects, you simply cannot get away with acting at this level of direness. Unfortunately, the script is not The Usual Suspects either, it’s not even The Usual Children. The Intent is a dreadful substandard gangster movie fronted by a set of narcissistic self-confident musicians who simply cannot act. Stick to the day job guys, please.
1 / 5
Dir: Femi Oyeniran, Kalvadour Peterson
Scr: Femi Oyeniran, Nicky Slimting Walker
Cast: Scorcher, Dylan Duffus, Shone Romulus, Femi Oyeniran, Sarah Akokhia
Prd: Nicky Slimting Walker, Femi Oyeniran
Music: Janis Vitolins
DOP: Scott Sandford
Run Time: 104 Minutes