Anti-Social follows brothers Dee and Marcus as they try to survive the streets of London and gang life. The film was inspired by the multiple “smash and grab” robberies that have occurred in recent years, where large amounts of jewellery have been taken from stores and vaults. Dee is a talented street artist whose art takes him out of the dangerous environment to spread his anarchic anti-capitalist message and carve a career out of his talent. Marcus is the leader of a gang of jewel thieves who are too deep into a lifestyle of violence and retribution to ever see a way out.
Gregg Sulkin plays Dee, who is given a big break to focus on his art full time and make a career out of it with his understanding model girlfriend Kirstin (Meghan Markle). He is reserved, focused and eager to escape. Marcus, played by Josh Myers, is the level-headed, protective patriarch of the gang and the family.
The cast includes Skepta and Devlin: both are part of a wave of musicians who have put British grime on the international map. Along with fellow cast members Richie Campbell and Andrew Shim, who make up the rest of the gang, they bring a convincing intensity to their roles. While they do not hesitate to leap to extreme violence, they also show genuine affection for, and loyalty to, one another.
Marcus and his gang are not bad guys really, caring and willing to sacrifice for those they love. The problem is that they cannot see any other way out of their social situation. This highlights the pointlessness and never-ending cycle of violence and the destruction of lives, and the pain caused by senseless gang violence, but does so without being preachy. It doesn’t glorify this lifestyle but presents the positive as well as the negative. As the film concludes, the audience is left wondering whether they were ever rooting for these characters, or whether they get their just desserts?
The film is slow-paced as it develops the characters and the lives they are striving to attain. Unfortunately this means that when the action finally kicks off, it is almost too late. The build-up is drawn out for too long and while it helps to create an understanding of the characters, the final action scene feels unfortunately rushed, losing its potential impact.
Anti-Social is released nationwide on 1st May 2015.
Watch the trailer for Anti-Social here: