Jun 6, 2014

Review: Adulthood (2008)

Adulthood, stylized as AdULTHOOD is the sequel to Kidulthood. Noel Clarke who wrote and starred in the first entry returns as writer, director and protagonist this time around. Once again, Clarke makes for a solid presence and his writing has improved. I felt that there were some weaknesses in some of the dialogue in the first film but that's not to say that the script isn't without its problems.

The key difference here is that Noel Clarke's character from Kidulthood is now the protagonist. He was basically the main antagonist before and it makes for an interesting change in dynamics. The change definitely makes for some interesting possibilities and confrontations due to events that happened in Kidulthood.

If you haven't seen Kidulthood, be warned that there are spoilers contained in this review. 


Genre: crime, drama
Directed by: Noel Clarke
Produced by: George Isaac, Damian Jones, Amir Madani, etc.
Written by: Noel Clarke
Music by: Chad Hobson
Running time: 99 minutes
Production company: Cipher Films, Limelight, Unstoppable Entertainment
Distributed by: Independent, Pathé Pictures International, BBC Three, etc.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: £3,347,811 (UK)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Noel Clarke, Adam Deacon, Scarlett Alice Johnson, Femi Oyeniran, Red Madrell, Jacob Anderson, Ben Drew, Wil Johnson, Nathan Constance, Adjoa Andoh, Madeleine Fairley, Danny Dyer, Lindsey Jordan, Kiera Booth, Arnold Oceng, Don Klass, David Ajala



Sam Peel (Noel Clarke) is released from prison, six years after having killed Trife with a baseball bat. He has apparently paid a pretty steep price in prison and he's no longer the bully he once was. He's changed his ways and he just wants to move on. When Jay (Adam Deacon) who was a close friend of Trife's hears of his release, he immediately goes into a frenzy and wants revenge. Sam is left desperately trying to figure out who exactly is out to get him.


The main problem I have with the script of Adulthood is that we the viewers are meant to believe that Sam is a changed man. He apparently never meant to kill Trife in the first place and he's had to pay hell for it during his time in prison. Some of his experiences are shown in flashbacks but there just seems to be some sort of disconnect. When Sam is on the verge of doing something bad let's say, the film is too quick to use a flashback to justify what he'll do next. I want to see Sam doing some actual thinking without the use of flashbacks, because the whole thing just reeks of heavyhandedness. A bit of flashbacking is fine but the overuse of flashbacks just gets old fast and it comes at the cost of the audience believing Sam is a changed man which is crucial to the story.

The way in which Adulthood is edited is similar to Kidulthood in its flashy style but it's not as grating. The style does get in the way of a couple of the scenes where there is some fighting as well as the many confrontations. The camera zooms right up to the actors' faces to emulate what it's like having someone get right in your face but the effect is more goofy than intimidating.

Overall though, Adulthood is a slight improvement over Kidulthood. Noel Clarke has complete control and he does carry a pretty grim scowl as Sam Peel. He doesn't get bogged down in his duties and he does a better job than Menhaj Huda in the director's chair. The whole gangster/crime atmosphere of London doesn't come off as silly this time around and there's an attempt at creating a deeper connection with the main character of Sam even if it doesn't completely succeed.

The main shortcoming of Adulthood is not letting Sam Peel stand on his own two feet but having to resort to flashbacks to explain his actions and motivations. Sam could be a strong character without having to resort to cheap tactics like that and I guess you could chalk this up to Noel Clarke's inexperience. It's the 5th project that he's a writer for but I'm sure he'll get better with time. 



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