It seems as though director Reg Traviss has watched one too many Guy Ritchie movies. Anti-Social may see itself as the next big Laaaahndan crime thriller, but it’s far from it.
At the centre of the film we have two brothers, Dee & Marcus. The former is an up-and-coming street artist (in reality a poor man’s Banksy), while his older brother is a supposedly hardened gangster who spends his days robbing jewellery stores with the rest of his motorcycle riding posse. While Dee finds his work being admired by the corporate elites, Marcus is finding competition from a rival gang, and the fuzz. The two ‘anti-social’ geezers must overcome their challenges to reach the successes and lifestyles they yearn for.
The film itself starts with some punk music blaring over the top of the action – with Dee graffitiing by some railway tracks, and Marcus & his gang conducting a job. It’s all completely lacklustre, with these sorts of set pieces looking rushed and, quite frankly, cheap. This obviously causes a massive issue early on, because if the opening set-piece is pretty shit, then how is what follows meant to be any better?
That’s not the only issue we see early on. It becomes blatantly obvious that Traviss believes every Londoner speaks like a stereotypical chav. ‘Bluds’ and ‘bruvs’ are formal greetings, and every other word needs to be ‘fuck.’ The weak script, in turn, creates weak performances, with none (and I mean none) of the cast members putting in a performance above mediocre. It’s not necessarily their fault, but there is no believability about any of them, and every single performer looks uninspired. The addition of grime artists ‘Skepta’ and ‘Devlin’ seem to be more of a way to pull in punters at the cinema or your local HMV, rather than because of their acting chops.
And then there’s the treatment of women. This misogynistic movie finds little room for women in the movie unless, of course, they are models (Meghan Markle used for eye-candy alone it seems), or are treated like shit. It would be very surprising if you remember the names of the female characters, as every other male character seems to refer to them only as ‘bitch’ or ‘slut.’
There’s also a detestable scene in which Skepta and his crew burst into Marcus’ girlfriend’s home. Marcus has hidden drugs there – unbeknownst to Emma – and Skepta isn’t happy about it. During the process of robbing the joint, the guys think it would be ideal to torture Emma’s younger brother, and then proceed to rape Emma and her friend Tara. It’s a completely unnecessary and vile scene, and there is no sense of redemption for the women either. Skepta and his cronies seemingly get away with it, and there’s no comeuppance for them whatsoever.
Whilst Anti-Social strives to be the modern-day Lock, Stock or Snatch, it simply is not. Traviss fails to capture any sense of British or cockney humour, and his drama is so woefully reliant on misogyny and yawn-inducing set pieces. Lacklustre, boring, and offensive – I’d rather spend two hours listening to Danny Dyer screaming in my ears. At least that might be somewhat entertaining.
Dir: Reg Traviss
Scr: Reg Traviss
Cast: Gregg Sulkin, Meghan Markle, Josh Myers, Andrew Shim, Junior ‘Skepta’ Adenuga
Prd: Mouktar Mohammed, Greg Szetlik, Krisztina Endrényi, Shail Shah
DOP: Bryan Loftus
Music: George Kallis
Country: UK, Hungary
Run Time: 116 min
Anti-Social is released in UK cinemas on Monday 5th December.