out of Five
Running time: 102
Attention-grabbing British thriller, enlivened by glossy cinematography, a decent script and strong performances from a superb cast.
What's it all about?
Co-directed by Neil Thompson and David Kew, Twenty8K stars Parminder Nagra as Deeva Jani, a Paris-based fashion executive who returns to her old East London stomping ground and turns amateur detective after her estranged brother Vipon (Sebastian Nanena) is accused of murder.
With help from an old flame, now youth worker, Clint O'Connor (Jonas Armstrong), Deeva soon uncovers a web of corruption that involves politicians, a well-connected police detective (Stephen Dillane), a ring of prostitutes (Kaya Scodelario, Nichola Burley) run by brothel-madam Francesca (Kierston Wareing) and local villain Tony Marchetto (Michael Socha), head of drug gang Twenty8K.
Parminder Nagra is excellent, playing Deeva as a strong character filled with both determination and empathy (you'd happily watch a TV series where she starred as a detective), mixed with a certain amount of guilt for having essentially deserted her family. There's also strong support from a terrific supporting cast, the stand-outs of which include Kaya Scodelario (whose spaced-out beauty is put to strong use here), Kierston Wareing (under-used, as always) and Michael Socha (clearly relishing the chance to play something other than a dopey slacker for once), while newcomer Sebastian Nanena makes a notable impression as Vipon and Stephen Dillane gives good bad cop as DCI Stone.
Co-written by TV drama stalwart Paul Abbott, the script does a good job of juggling its multiple characters and manages to weave in an amusingly topical conspiracy thread with its suggestion that bribery and corruption were deployed in the services of an aggressive clean-up of East London in time for the Olympics.
With so much going on, it does occasionally feel as if the story might have been more at home as a three-part miniseries along the lines of Abbott's State of Play. That said, Mike Beresford-Jones' impressively glossy cinematography does at least give the film the look of a slick Hollywood thriller, even if the material might have suited a grittier approach.
Twenty8K is an entertaining British thriller that distinguishes itself above the standard geezers-and-gangsters fare, thanks to strong performances, slick photography and a decent script from Paul Abbott. Worth seeing.