Freestyle (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/02/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Poorly directed, badly acted and painfully written, this is a horribly cliched drama with zero chemistry between its two leads and no sense of tension or conflict, though the freestyle scenes are admittedly impressive.

What's it all about?
Directed by Kolton Lee, Freestyle stars Lucy Konadu as Ondene, a beautiful, talented student who's destined to read law at Oxford University, much to the delight of her ambitious mother, Hyacinth (Suzann McLean). However, when she's challenged to enter a freestyle basketball competition, she finds herself falling for the charms of her streetwise coach and fellow entrant Leon (Arinze Kene) and starts to wonder if it's time she broke free of her mother's influence.

Meanwhile, Leon has been nursing his own secret desire to go to university - something he's concealed from his more streetwise mates – and sees the competition's £15,000 prize money as the opportunity he's been hoping for. But will he be able to beat his talented rival, Double S (Tarryn Algar)?

The Good
The freestylers in the film were cast as the result of a nationwide talent search and the freestyle scenes themselves are easily the best thing in the film, even if the special moves that come into play in the finale aren't actually that impressive (hilariously, the extras are all required to act as if they've never seen anyone do a handstand before). In addition, Kene has an appealing natural charm that works well, although he can't quite rustle up any chemistry with the painfully wooden Konadu, who delivers all her lines like she's reading them off a board that's just out of shot.

The Bad
Freestyle was produced as part of Film London Microwave (the micro-budget film-making scheme set up in partnership with BBC Films), so its rough edges, occasionally cheap-looking photography and bargain basement set design are entirely understandable. Less forgivable, however, is the painfully cliched, extremely flat and completely by-the-numbers script that fails to bring the story or the characters to life.

On top of that, Alfie Allen delivers a horrifically embarrassing performance as Gez, a cackling fuckwit who is supposedly one of Leon's friends, but isn't above getting Ondene drunk and attempting to rape her (though at least he has the courtesy to look for a condom first).

Worth seeing?
Freestyle has the right intentions but is ultimately a disappointing drama that falls painfully flat thanks to a dismal script, poor direction and wooden performances.

Film Trailer

Freestyle (12A)
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Content updated: 22/07/2018 08:03

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