New Town Killers (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/06/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Watchable, decently paced thriller with an engaging lead performance from James Anthony Pearson that helps you overlook the film's more ridiculous elements.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Richard Jobson, New Town Killers stars James Anthony Pearson as Sean, a down-on-his-luck parentless teenager who lives with his sister Alice (Liz White) on a rundown Edinburgh housing estate. When Alice's debts spiral out of control and she's threatened by loan sharks, Sean is desperate to help her, but things get off to a bad start when he's framed for theft and given the sack from his job.

However, when Sean meets mysterious banker Alistair (Dougray Scott), he's offered the chance to play a game of hide and seek for exactly the amount of money his sister needs – all he has to do is avoid being captured by Alistair and his partner Jamie (Alastair Mackenzie) until 9am the following morning and the money is his. Faced with a choice between playing the game or becoming a male prostitute, Sean accepts the deal, but soon realises that the stakes are much higher than he thought and that Alistair intends to kill him.

The Good
Pearson makes a likeable, sympathetic lead, playing Sean with a mix of resourceful toughness and vulnerability that works well. Scott overacts wildly, but he's better at playing villains than nice guys and it actually works quite well; there's also strong support from White, Mackenzie and Charles Mnene as Sean's best friend.

Jobson keeps things moving at a decent pace that allows you to just about ignore the plot's more ridiculous elements, of which there are several. He also makes strong use of the various Edinburgh locations.

The Bad
That's not to say the film is without flaws. One repulsively violent scene in particular seems out of place and only included for shock value, while the ending is a little anti-climactic and disappointing as a result. Still, at least Jobson doesn't put in one of his excruciating, pink-jumper-clad cameo appearances this time round.

Worth seeing?
New Town Killers is a watchable and well acted, if frequently ridiculous thriller. It's also Jobson's best film yet, though that isn't saying much.

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Content updated: 22/11/2017 20:15

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