Ill Manors was released today and like no other film before I had truley been counting down to see this. Having seen the music video and Ben Drew aka Plan Bs TED talk I just knew this film was going to be something else and it was defo something else because here I am blogging about it and I hardly blog these days!
I’m not sure where to start from but I’ll start of with the location. Forest Gate.
I live in East Ham, about 10 minutes away from where the film is set. On a personal level I had great fun spotting my home town and locations but also because these estates are around me and the characters in this film might be fictional but the sad reality is people like them do exist in our society. They are all around us and are voiceless and if anyone remembers the riots happened last summer but it seems we have forgot about it already. Hopefully this film puts those issues back on the agenda.
I really hope this is Plan Bs start to his directing career. The man is ever so talented and kind of fits my master of all trades debate. We don’t need to box ourselves in, all we need to do is find a passion and follow it and you will succeed.
From a very media/tecky perspective. I just LOVED the cinematography of the film, the way it was cut, the use of mobile footage, the use of home videos and then most importantly the soundtracks really do intervene it together nicely. In a way this film can be seen as a bit of a hip hop musical. But it is not cheese fest, i I can’t wait for the album to come out because each track tells story of the individual character.
The Individual characters were great but what I loved is there is no evil vs good narrative here. What we see are people stuck in a trap. They face moral dilemmas, and whatever they do they do to get by. Ill manors has lots of different characters and the stories all intervine with a sound track narrated by Plan B. It is not your conventional film and as we get to know the history of each of the individual characters and their personal stories we get to understand the motto of the film even more “We are all products of our environment… Some environments are just harder to survive in.”
My personal favourite character is Aaron played by Riz Ahmed. Aaron is great, his not evil, and you can see his very conflicted with all the actions he has to take to survive in the hood. He dont’t want to go down this path but it is the path that he knows best. In a way I’d call Aaron the Hero, his not a good guy but his the guy your most likely to cheer on for as you see him struggle with himself and feel ever so sorry for him. I also loved Anoska Mond who plays Michelle a “Crack Whore”. A lot of the people in the films are unknowns but that is what I think is amazing about it. The youngest character in that film is played by a boy found at the school my older brother teaches in. In the TED talk Plan B basiclally goes how picking out talent from the area his able to give these young people a boost and a craft to work on and to sort themselves out.
Yes this film is fiction, but in a way it is a project, a project for Plan B to generally help the people from the area he grew up in, let that be giving them a part in the film or simply being the voice for them, his also hoping to set up a fund that can help and work on these young people. The biggest thing that stuck out to me in his TED talk was the idea of adopting a young person to mentor them. I’m a co-creator of new charity Spark and Mettle where in a way 13 of us have been on it’s pilot program where the aim is to help us to flourish in our careers and life. In my case, I’m working class, I come from a deprived area and my parents are not professionals, so I have no connections to kick of a media career so the aim of the charity is to give us a leg up in achieving our dreams. Unlike people in the film though I’ve had a very stable upbringing but the leg up is still needed for someone like me so for a characters from this film need much more work then just extra money from the government. What they need is a role model which I think Plan B addresses really well in any interviews he has given. A role model don’t have to be a father or a brother a role model can be YOU. If you are a profesional or even semi-profesional person or someone who is just great and can just go out and give a young person just a bit of your time, work on their passions and most of all believe in them. Anything is possible.