Tony (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/02/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 72 mins

Enjoyable, darkly funny and weirdly moving, this is a sharply written, well acted drama that marks writer-director Gerard Johnson out as a talent to watch.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Gerard Johnson, Tony stars Peter Ferdinando as the eponymous Tony, a wimpy, unemployed weirdo who's frequently picked on in the streets thanks to his geeky appearance and poor social skills. Walking the streets of Dalston in search of some form of human connection, Tony tags along with drug dealers Smudger (Francis Pope) and Mackey (George Russo) and invites them back to his flat, only to unexpectedly murder one of them when they fall asleep.

It soon becomes clear that Tony is a frustrated sociopath who's so desperate for company that he'll kill people just to have someone to watch TV with. As the film progresses, Tony also encounters a kindly female neighbour (Vicky Murdock), a prostitute (Lucy Flack) and a TV licence inspector (Ian Kilgannon). Meanwhile, he's forced to take a job in a tanning shop and is also suspected of abducting a local child (Sam Kempster).

The Good
The posters for Tony include the legend “London Serial Killer” under the title, making this look like an East End version of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer but the film is much more of a blackly comic social drama than a horror or thriller and has more in common with the work of Mike Leigh and Alan Clarke than it does with the serial killer genre. It's immediately apparent, for example, that Tony's not really a serial killer, in that he doesn't deliberately set out to murder his victims.

Peter Ferdinando delivers a terrific performance, achieving the extremely complex balancing act of making Tony both heartbreakingly pitiable and chillingly unpredictable at the same time. Similarly, Johnson gets the tone of the film exactly right. For example, the scene where Tony is ejected from a brothel for asking “How much for a cuddle?” is both blackly funny and desperately sad.

The Great
In addition, Johnson's script is excellent and there are several very funny scenes. It's also a testament to Ferdinando's performance that he can make the delivery of a seemingly innocuous line like “Would you like some beans on toast?” seem like comedy gold.

Worth seeing?
Tony is a hugely enjoyable, superbly directed drama with a blackly comic script and a terrific central performance from Peter Ferdinando. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Tony (18)
Tony has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 14:59

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