City of Tiny LightsLondon Film Festival 2016
City of Tiny Lights, written by Patrick Neate and directed by Pete Travis, whilst being a movie consisting of a pleasingly culturally diverse main cast and therefore an accurate reflection of current metropolitan life, is unfortunately a rather unimaginative example of a crime thriller.
Essentially, City of Tiny Lights focuses on London-based private detective Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed) who is hired by luxe prostitute Melody, played by Cush Jumbo, to find her friend Natasha. While the focus on this aspect is there, it is indeed barely noticeable. The dangerous crime elements that are so desired of a thriller are not fully present in City of Tiny Lights, and its main emphasis is arguably the loss of a friend from Akhtar’s youth, which resurfaces when the lovely Shelley (Billie Piper) and her daughter do so. This makes the film into a soppy, predictable drama and does not manage to capture audience attention for long enough.
The acting is certainly satisfactory enough, although sadly Piper seems to be the wrong choice for her role, as she and Ahmed do not have the required “chemistry”. In fact, their youthful versions fare much better together.
In contrast, the aesthetic of the picture is pleasing; its dark and broody mood is perhaps the sole thing in City of Tiny Lights which manages to properly convey the genre of the crime thriller. Its use of colour is likewise interesting and bold – consistently complementary and yet unnatural. But despite this, the film is neglected by its mundane and predictable storyline.
City of Tiny Lights is released nationwide on 7th April 2017.
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