Following in the fallow footsteps of Green Street, controversial screenwriter Dougie Brimson is back with another football hooligan instalment set to burn the cobwebs off British crime dramas. This time, however, old EastEnders favourite Martin Kemp is in the director’s chair.
Top Dog, with a cast of identifiable British talent, gives off a pungent aroma likening it to films such as Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. (Fans of these films will spot the references a mile off). The settings, all classical London haunts, really allow the cast to set alight the screen.
When cockney bad boy Billy Evans (Leo Gregory, Green Street) takes personal offence to a rival London gang headed up by Mickey (Ricci Harnett, 28 Days Later), the two men go to war in a big way. Unbeknown to Billy, however, Mickey has the backing of North London-based Irish Mafia boss Watson (Vincent Regan, 300) and soon both men can feel their worlds spiralling.
In a world where gangs run protection set ups for local businesses, any chance of a clean living is diminished. The supporting actors do a tremendous job escalating the intensity of any given situation with believable power and the distinctive honesty that sets apart British crime dramas from their American counterparts.
With its 18 certificate, no expense is spared in creating an atmosphere that would make even the hardiest cinema viewers recoil. Visually impacting with powerful camera work, Top Dog is a real contender for gritty British cinema. Its only questionable element is a shaky start with the characters slightly over-exaggerating their performance. This was quashed, though, as soon as the action kicked off.
Top Dog is a welcome injection of that atypical British humour loved by so many. Screenwriter Brimson’s headstrong ideas and Kemp’s direction have been fantastically translated onto the big screen, and no doubt Top Dog will see much of the success Green Street did.
Top Dog is released nationwide on 26th May 2014.
Watch the trailer for Top Dog here: