What this film lacks in substance, it certainly makes up for in full-throttle action. Hackney’s Finest is the story of a low-level drug dealer getting caught up in a feud with a corrupt East London cop. As far as gritty London thrillers go, this falls short in a lot of areas, but what does shine through is the characterisation. The fleshed-out characters are what make this film as watchable as it is.
Representations of British drug scenes are all too often painful and angsty, but Hackney’s Finest brings more comedy than most to this supposed underbelly of drugs and violence. The problem lies, though, in the lack of commitment to this, so the hack sequences and jokes feel quite out of place against the villainous corrupt cop with no discernable self-awareness. Our good guy, Sirus, is a cheeky chappy that could easily work at your local PC World, except he spends his lunch breaks in toilet stalls taking a load of heroin and planning his next deal. His character seems out context with the rest of the film, despite the story revolving around him. His pure Ikea house and collection of teenage boyband T-shirts make the fact that he has Hackney’s top policeman after him seem a little bit absurd, especially for what looks like not a massive amount of heroin, to the untrained eye.
The two Welsh-Jamaican yardies are also inherently ridiculous, as their bags of military grade guns and grenades are accompanied by thick accents. Sure, the intention was to make a film that doesn’t take itself so seriously, but what’s sacrificed here is any sincerity, which is integral to this character-driven story. Director Chris Bouchard, of the 2009 short Hunt for Gollum, makes a lot of traditional choices in this film, despite his desire to change things up. London looks expectedly gritty, and there’s that distinct style of British independent film that does add something here.
Despite the script feeling a little unnatural and the story in itself a bit silly, Hackney’s Finest will definitely please a certain audience. Heavier on the substance abuse than the actual substance, the violence and testosterone in this film will most likely appeal to the male market. As far as a mainstream audience goes, the jokes get old before they’re even said and the acting doesn’t quite make up for it, but it must be said that Hackney’s Finest is inherently watchable.
Hackney’s Finest is released nationwide on 3rd April 2015.
Watch the trailer for Hackney’s Finest here: