A grim, grungy tale of young inner-city criminals in London, Dominic Savage's "Out of Control" comes dressed in the clothes of the British realist tradition but doesn't have much new underneath to flaunt.

A grim, grungy tale of young inner-city criminals in London, Dominic Savage’s “Out of Control” comes dressed in the clothes of the British realist tradition but doesn’t have much new underneath to flaunt. By-the-numbers content and characters — good boy, bad boy, sensitive prison officer, insensitive prison officer — are jazzed up with doucudrama-style DV lensing by d.p. Barry Ackroyd in cold, drab, green-blue hues. This left-field winner of best British feature at the Edinburgh fest looks consigned to the small screen for which it was made.

Dean (Danny Young), 15, is a basically good kid, with a caring mom (former soap star Tamzin Outhwaite), but lands up in stir after hanging with the wrong crowd. Daniel (Akemnji Ndifernyan) is the black equivalent, who ends up in the same prison when his nihilistic, psychotic pal, Sam (Leo Gregory), bungles a convenience store robbery. Despite help from a sympathetic warder (David Morrissey), Dean finds himself completely ill-equipped for Sam’s bullying in prison. Performances are all very good, especially Gregory’s full-on, white-Yardie character, but plot is predictable from the start and, despite its docu-realist veneer, whole exercise has a thoroughly conventional feel.

Out of Control

U.K.

Production

A BBC-TV production. Produced by Ruth Caleb. Executive producer, David M. Thompson. Directed, written by Dominic Savage.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Barry Ackroyd; editor, David Hill; production designer, Tom Bowyer; art director, John Stevenson. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival (British Galas), Aug. 18, 2002. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

David Morrissey, Tamzin Outhwaite, Jamie Foreman, Frank Harper, Danny Young, Leo Gregory, Akemnji Ndifernyan, Chelsea S. Gooding, Teslim Black, Sharon Henry.
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