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London Film Festival Preview: My Brother The Devil
Val Phoenix , October 13th, 2012 06:56

Val Phoenix watches Sally El Hosaini's deceptive Hackney drama, which screens in the First Feature Competition at the 56th London Film Festival, ahead of its nationwide theatrical release on November 9

A multiple award winner on the international festival circuit, Sally El Hosaini's promising debut feature presents an initially familiar scenario with its Hackney council estate beset by gang warfare. Meanwhile, a domestic drama plays out in one of the flats, home to a British-Egyptian family. In particular the camera adores James Floyd as Rashid, a drug dealer who has second thoughts and tries to keep brother Mo from following his example.

While Floyd struts and broods in equal measure, Fady Elsayed as the younger sibling drifts through the story, observing but rarely exhibiting any decisive action. His naiveté in thinking he can earn some easy money seems questionable. That quibble aside, El Hosaini goes unexpected places with the plot and, while there is violence, she thankfully avoids Danny Dyer territory.