City Rats (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/04/2009

One out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Slow-moving, frequently dull and painfully pretentious British drama that's further hampered by a collection of badly acted, unlikeable characters.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steve Kelly, City Rats is a multi-character drama set in London. Tamer Hassan plays Jim, a depressed man who's taken to throwing watermelons off tall buildings in preparation for a possible suicide, but when he spots potential jumper Sue (MyAnna Buring) he persuades her to spend the day with him instead.

Meanwhile, Sue's wannabe artist ex-boyfriend Dean (ex-EastEnder Ray Panthaki) gets tired of spending his days masturbating and writing bad poetry so he asks his crippled prostitute upstairs neighbour (Susan Lynch as Gina) to be his muse. Elsewhere, ex-con Pete (Danny Dyer) attempts to help a lonely woman (Natasha Williams) discover what happened to her son, while sexually confused Olly (Kenny Doughty) attempts to help his autistic deaf mute homosexual brother Chris (James Lance) lose his virginity.

The Good
There's a certain amount of potential here, but unfortunately neither the script nor the actors are up to the task of making it work. That said, some segments are more successful than others: Lynch is good as Gina, while Dyer acquits himself nicely as the ex-con turned private detective (sort of).

The Bad
The problem is that the script is painfully dull, meaning that most of the characters are stupefyingly boring – certainly, in the case of the suicidal ones, you never really understand what's brought them to that point in the first place. Similarly, Kelly has no idea how to handle Lance's character and leaves out key scenes as a result, including any scene where Chris and Olly actually communicate with each other.

On top of that, the pacing is so slow it's like watching characters move through treacle. It also doesn't help that Hassan is badly miscast and that, with the exception of Gina, none of the characters are particularly likeable.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, City Rats fails to connect on an emotional level, thanks to a pretentious script, sluggish direction, unlikeable characters and poor performances. One to avoid.

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City Rats (18)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 12:08

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