Adulthood

UK Release Date 20th June 2008
Director Noel Clarke
Starring Noel Clarke, Adam Deacon
Runtime 99 Minutes
Certificate 18
Reviewer Mark
Reviewed 7th July 2016

You know what blud? Adulthood ain’t half bad. 

Six years on from the events of Kidulthood and Trife’s murderer Sam is out of nick and back on road. Still things have changed since he went inside. The vicious thug has turned into an introspective young man full of remorse for his previous reign of terror when he lorded it as a, “Sixth Form top boy.”

Writer/Director/Star Noel Clarke returns as Sam and puts him through his paces in this grime-noir. Like Alex DeLarge before him Sam must face his past head on especially when he encounters his previous victims and his own family and fully realises the impact his callous behaviour has had on them. Unlike Alex, Sam is genuinely grief stricken, reflecting deeply on the South London gang bullshit that he bought into so absolutely.

Clarke’s Ice Cube like intensity (look at his Ice Brows) makes these scenes riveting and believable. Faced with the sheer disappointment of his once devoted mother and the fact that Trife’s girlfriend and mother to his child doesn’t even think enough of him to plot a revenge renders Sam impotent, an adult without purpose and the true victim of his many crimes.

At times it’s over dramatic, all cussing and windmill arm movements, but then again life for these grown up kids is one big drama running at a million frames per second. Try teaching them sometime. Clarke the writer is better than Clarke the director but no one writes that grime slang with his nailed on authenticity so we can forgive him the odd clunky split screen transition. The man should be writing Eastenders for god's sake.

Most chilling of all, Clarke reveals the nasty misogynist streak running through certain elements of young British males. Jay’s incomprehensible tirade at Moony’s smart law student girlfriend, because she has the audacity to butt in with an opinion, is brilliantly thrown back in his face, “Tell me what? Listen, this ain’t a dictatorship, it’s a relationship. I’m a 22-year-old woman who is studying law. He doesn’t tell me anything.”

Adulthood also boasts some very fine performances from its supporting cast, most notably Plan B as young wannabe gangsta Dabs and an unrecognisable Scarlett Johnson as depressed cokehead Lexi, finally putting the ghost of Vicky Fowler firmly behind her. Even Cockney royalty Danny Dyer makes a brief cameo putting the South London oiks back in their place.

Clarke’s movie may be depressingly bleak in places and full of shouting screw faces in others, but like Kidulthood it has a moral standpoint worth listening to. The more people who hear it the better and a third film Brotherhood is scheduled for release later this year.

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