Outlanders (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/10/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Engaging drama with strong performances and several memorable scenes, though you can't help wishing that the script would delve a little deeper.

What's it all about?
Jakub Tolak stars as Adam, a Polish teenager who leaves Gdansk and travels to London in order to inform his estranged brother Jan (Przemyslaw Sadowski) of their father's death. Adam finds that Jan has found success as a supplier of cheap labour to construction projects, but when a death occurs on one of the building sites, he realises that his brother's business may be shadier than he'd thought.

When Adam investigates further, he discovers shocking evidence of Jan's guilt and is forced to choose between loyalty to his brother and protecting his fellow immigrants. Meanwhile, he begins a tentative relationship with Russian single mother Anna (Alexis Raben), who runs a late-night burger van.

The Good
The performances are excellent: Jakub Tolak makes an appealingly fresh-faced lead, while Przemyslaw Sadowski delivers a swaggering performance that oozes with charisma as Jan. There's also strong support from the gorgeous Alexis Raben as Anna, while Shaun Dingwall is well cast as dogged D.I. Cartwright, who's been keeping a close eye on Jan.

Director Dominic Lees convincingly captures the subculture of London's illegal labour sites, even if it neglects to mention that Polish citizens have been able to work legally in the UK since 2004. Lees also orchestrates several effectively tense scenes, ensuring that Adam's dilemma is keenly felt (you sense Lees might have seen Goodfellas more times than could be considered healthy).

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the two brothers are the only characters with any depth, leaving everyone else feeling like a thinly-sketched caricature. Similarly, the relationship between Adam and Anna is frustratingly underwritten and doesn't quite convince.

Worth seeing?
In short, Outlanders is an engaging drama with decent performances, but you can't help feeling that it would have packed more of an emotional punch with a stronger script.

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Content updated: 21/09/2018 04:37

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