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||IMDB Rating: 6.5/10 from 2,196 votes
||Release: 24 April 2009 (UK) /
||Director: Eran Creevy,
||Stars: Courtney Day, Daniel Mays, Dannielle Brent, Eddie Webber, Francesca Annis, Gracie Fitch, Jason Flemyng, Jason Maza, Jay Simpson, Jordan Long, Kate Groombridge, Nathaniel Gleed, Nitin Ganatra, Riz Ahmed, Rory Jennings
||Synopsis: Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and with his family about to turn their back on him for good, Shifty must out-run and out-smart a rival drug dealer, intent on setting him up for a big fall. As his long time friend Chris, confronts the dark past he left behind him, Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he's hurtling towards. Written by Anonymous
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Watch Shifty - Alternative Versions.
Shifty is being hailed in some quarters as an early contender for best
British film of 2009 - a double-edged blessing for any debut, which can
rarely hope to live up to the hype, however well intentioned. Shifty
isn't the second coming, the one true saviour of UK independent cinema.
But it's a very decent little crime thriller, with a lot of heart, that
deserves more than a couple of weeks at the repertory before being
marooned on DVD.
Chris (Daniel Mays) returns from Manchester to the (fictional) outer
London suburb of Dudlowe after four years in white-collared exile. To
his surprise, he discovers his old school mate Shifty (Riz Ahmed), the
"smart kid in class, four A-levels", has since transformed from a
part-time weed merchant into a full blown crack dealer.
Over the next 24 hours, the country mouse accompanies the town mouse on
his rounds, supplying everyone from middle-class hippies to dead eyed
kids, while being stalked by an increasingly agitated Trevor (Jay
Simpson), a broken family man prepared to take his next fix by any
means necessary. (Shifty must be selling some uncommonly good gear.)
Meanwhile his brother Rez (Nitin Ganatra) is about to kick him out of
his house, and double-crossing supplier Glen (Jason Flemyng) is setting
him up for a fall. Can Chris convince Shifty to abandon his life at the
crack face before he comes a cropper?
'Shifty' sounds like an ITV comedy drama from the late 1960s or early
1970s, no doubt starring Hywel Bennett or Adam Faith as its eponymous
lovable rogue; up to no good, but more victim than predator - and
that's pretty much the case here. An ocean away from The Wire's corner
boys, Baltimore's tooled-up foot soldiers marinated in murder, Shifty's
scrappy pushers embody a familiar kind of hapless Englishness; the sort
who might shut up shop for a day, owing to the wrong kind of snow on
the road. Yet for all its lively banter ("I can't believe you just sold
crack to Miss Marple and struck a deal with Blazin' Squad") the film is
no quirky apologia for crime. This is the pedestrian reality of drug
abuse: people hurting themselves in small rooms.
All the cast are terrific, playing real three-dimensional characters,
but actor-musician Riz Ahmed is standout as the titular live wire,
utterly nailing the dealer's temporal mindset. He might look as if he's
physically occupying a scene, but he's not really there at all - his
eyes tell us he's already on the next page, a parasitic tick, eternally
leaping from host to host.
Writer-director Eran Creevy drew his inspiration from a former school
friend, an A-grade pupil who discovered he could make more money in the
real world by dealing drugs. Not for Shifty being "stuck in a
warehouse, knocking out dodgy Fruit Of The Loom". Had things worked out
differently, we can easily imagine him popping up on 'The Apprentice',
back-chatting Sir Alan.
Creevy eschews the woozy, art-house ambiance of Duane Hopkins' Better
Things - another portrait of a drug-decimated community - for
naturalistic dialogue and performances within carefully framed and
composed shots; properly cinematic, grown-up direction. Though we never
get the impression we're watching a wildly original cinematic voice,
it's refreshing to encounter a film featuring gritty, 'urban' subject
matter that hasn't been shot with a hyperventilating DV camera.
This relative stillness and subtlety gives rise to moments of
exceptional power. During one scene, Shifty delivers to posh,
pensionable hippie Valerie (Francesca Annis), in a grimy council flat
littered with Moroccan tat and dead, stiff cats. It is safe to assume
this is a long way from where she imagined she was going to end up.
After everybody has had a nice cup of tea, Chris and Shifty hunch
embarrassedly on the opposite sofa in silence, while Valerie gratefully
sucks on the pipe, gently collapsing back into her chair, as muffled,
moronic techno from the flat upstairs leaks through the ceiling into
Such damn fine film-making reflects well on Shifty's sponsor, the
Microwave project, which gives aspiring UK indie filmmakers a chance, a
mentor, and some money to help realise their dreams. The catch: they
have to turn their movie around in just 18 days on a budget of
£100,000. While everyone, from caterers to star actors are paid the
same, inducing a more democratic vibe on set. Heathrow horror Mum &
Dad, released on Boxing Day 2008, was the first film to be made under
the scheme. Shifty is the second. There are eight more to come.
Tags for Shifty Full Movie
, Daniel Mays
, Dannielle Brent
, Eddie Webber
, Francesca Annis
, Gracie Fitch
, Jason Flemyng
, Jason Maza
, Jay Simpson
, Jordan Long
, Kate Groombridge
, Nathaniel Gleed
, Nitin Ganatra
, Riz Ahmed
, Rory Jennings
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