This tells the story of two brothers Mo, the younger and Rashid (James Floyd who played Freddie Mercury in the TV biopic of Kenny Everett) they are both British but from Egyptian parents. As such they have been drawn to the local gangs that deal in drugs and guns and violence. They live in Hackney which has one of the most cluttered number of gangs any where in the UK like `London Fields', `Hoxton Boys' and `Legends of Stokie' to name but three. Kids actually come from outside the borough to take part in the real inter gang rivalry.
In the film the gang is a mixed bunch who call them selves `DMG' which is a code for `drugs, money and guns', that will fool the `Feds' guys!. They have full on youth swagger and macho lame sensibilities. Then Mo gets a bit too involved and Rashid wants to get out, but in between ignoring his girlfriend showing disrespect to his erstwhile `homies', he also develops a taste for more than what the gang has to offer, or will ever accept. Everything is then set up for a big head on collision.
This is actually not a bad effort, it is well acted, shot and directed, but some will be wanting sub titles when the `kidz' are talking all `street', so be warned. The story has one foot in reality but is not so far from the possible to be of at least some entertainment value. There is not much actual bedroom stuff here and the violence is realistic but far from gratuitous so nothing to frighten the horses or anything. Director Sally El Hosaini has done a pretty good job in this 111 minute film. It will not be for everyone so if you want a full on action fest then avoid this one completely, but if you like a semi, gritty Brit gang flick then this might well do.
on 11 July 2013
"My Brother The Devil" (2012 release from the UK; 110 min.) brings the story of two teenager brothers living in the socially and racially diverse (and charged) neighborhood of Hackney, London. The younger brother Mo (played by Fady Elsayed) worships his older brother Rashid (played by James Floyd). Rashid is a member of a teenage gang called DMG (which stands for "drugs, money, guns"). Rashid does not want Mo to follow in his footsteps and instead is mapping out a better life for his younger brother. In the first half, we see Rashid making drug deliveries in and around the neighborhood, and at some point becoming involved in a fight with a rival gang, leading to tragic results. Then there is yet another significant turn in the movie involving Rashid, which I did not see coming at all and I will not reveal as it surely would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: writer-director Sally El Hosaini brings a gritty take on what it's like to be an ethnic youth growing up in London. This is not the London that tourists know! While there is a lot of tension throughout the movie, the actual violence that is shown on screen is kept to a surprising minimum, and that is just fine with me. As a complete aside, the movie plays of course in the authentic British (Hackney) accent, and as a result I had difficulty at times to understand the dialogue.
The screening I saw this at a few months ago in Washington, DC (at the E Street Landmark Theatre) was absolutely packet, by the way. Bottom line: if you are in the mood for a quality foreign movie that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, "My Brother The Devil" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Although released back in 2012, My Brother the Devil is a film that has only just been brought to my attention. I'm not even going to bother listing the awards that this film has won but, trust me, it's a pretty darn long list. This fact makes it all the more surprising that this film isn't more famous as its list of accolades is really impressive being praised for its cinematography and actors by England and Europe.
This film revolves around an Egyptian family living in Hackney with themes such as family, love and gang crime. Rash (James Floyd) is a key member of the local gang who's always got his wits about him and knows the ins and outs of making a living on the downlow in his local area. Despite being pretty good at his 'job', drug dealing and any other sort of petty crime the gang leader wants him involved in, Rash wants out. He wants a better life for his younger brother, Mo, and his family and works hard to do this. However, leaving the gang isn't as simple as walking away and things get very complicated, very quickly. Meanwhile, Mo, who idolises his older brother, is doing everything in his power to become a part of the gang that Rash is pulling away from. All he wants is for his brother to be proud of him and believing that getting in with 'boys' is the way to do it, Mo finds himself involved in the gang's activities.
With a film such as this, it can be quite easy to overplay the 'gangster', in terms of voice, language, mannerisms etc. but I was really impressed by what I would call the 'authenticity' of this film. Though the area of London I live in is nothing like Hackney, I have met quite a lot of people who talk in a similar fashion to Rash, Mo and their friends so I highly commend the actors for capturing what I imagine Hackney life is actually like. At times I thought that the supporting actors may have overplayed the gangster a little too much but the main two characters, Rash and Mo, are phenomenally good actors and they really carry the film forwards. Neither Fady Elsayed, nor James Floyd are particularly well known actors in Britain - why this is, I have no idea, because they are both so talented. If you stripped away the plot from this film it would still be worth watching just for the characters of Rash and Mo. Not only do these two actors work well on their own, but there seemed to be a real connection between the two which helped to make their brotherly relationship seem all the more real. Both characters have their own stories which run parallel alongside each other in 'My Brother the Devil', but some of the best scenes are those in which the two interact with each other.
What I loved about this film was that it was really subtle in some of its plot points. This isn't the sort of film you find yourself texting in, it's one that you pay the utmost attention to, lest you miss the smallest detail. It's the small things that make this film really good, which I guess is the case with most reality-based drama of this sort, but you're kept entertained in the build up to all the major plot crises even by something as small as Mo having a conversation with the girl next door.
This film is intense. You'll find yourself going through just about every emotion imaginable. It was pretty gruesome and violent at some points so be prepared to look away if you're not a fan of those sorts of things. Most of the time I find that extreme violence is unnecessary, but in a film such as this, you need these difficult scenes to really understand and delve into the world of these characters. There are also scenes of a sexual nature and the theme of homophobia is also addressed.
Acting and plot aside, I thought that the camera-work and soundtrack were also particularly excellent. I rarely notice cinematography and it's not the sort of thing you'd expect to be particularly amazing in a film such a this which is heavily plot driven and doesn't involve a lot scenic shots but there's just something about the way that the cinematographer captured this picture that made Hackney seem almost beautiful (a mean feat). Music always plays a massive part in films and the soundtrack to My Brother the Devil perfectly compliments the tone of the film and serves to enhance all the drama making this a real visual and sensual (not sexual) experience.
One of my first impressions of this film is that it's awfully like 'La Haine', a particularly famous French film about gang crime. There were certain scenes which seemed like they were almost identical and I don't know if this film was in any way inspired by that film or whether that was a coincidence. Anyways, if you're a fan of 'La Haine', then this is the perfect film for you.
In conclusion, if you're a fan real life drama and have a passion for more 'artistic' and 'deep' films, then definitely add this to your watch list. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this film given that I usually go for more lighthearted genres but this is a truly touching story that will make you both laugh and cry. This film has everything going for it: script, actors, cinematography, soundtrack, the works and if you consider yourself a filmie and you haven't seen this, then you're missing out.
on 8 May 2014
Don't often bother to review films but this film is well worth watching. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Well produced, good acting and brilliant story line. Story about love, loyalty and life all wrapped up in one very touching movie about the relationship between two brothers growing up on a council estate in East London.
This visually impressive and well acted film pertains to be about the change in a relationship between two brothers when one brother discovers late on in the plot that he is attracted to men. The resulting homophobia creates tension within his family and wider circle which unfortunately fails to convince and this is where the film falls down badly. The movie deals more successfully with street gangs and the experience of the Egyptian immigrant community in London effectively refugees from their own country and culture due to on-going political unrest. The portrayal of drug dealing which provides power, income and status for the largely aggressive male youth of Hackney ghettos where the film is set is very convincing. On one level because of the acting and use of improvised street language and on another level because drug dealing is a familiar theme in movies which is easy to recognise, so audiences can see when it is done well. I felt as if homosexuality was used as a plot device to create conflict and nothing more, almost as if the film-maker didn't want to offend or alienate her audience. Sexual attraction and a wider gay experience from the point of view of the more at ease gay character is not explored or portrayed. This absence I felt was misleading and left you at the end of the film with too many questions. As a gang movie about drugs the film says nothing new and as a movie about Arab machismo clashing with gay London life the film says nothing at all. As an interested gay man I felt under represented!!
on 17 June 2013
Well written, sensibly directed and edited MY BROTHER THE DEVIL is a great film about belonging and about being who you are. Well written, sensibly directed and edited MY BROTHER THE DEVIL is a great film about belonging and about being who you are. Non-predictable and emotionally demanding the creators will take you to a neighborhood you probably never been. Particularly the two brothers, James Floyd as Rashid and Fadi Elsayed as Mo are very convincing when they are at war with each other or tender. Writer-director Sally El Hosaini’s debut is very strong and promising and eagerly await here next movie. Non predictable and emotionally draining the creators
on 11 March 2013
When I started watching this movie I thought it might be another urban movie set on a council estate with guns and drugs etc. But it is so much more! beautifully shot, with a clever, faceed paced and moving story, this is an urban movie the likes of which you have never seen before.
The lead actors give incredible performances, and the whole film feels so believable and authentic, I was left wondering whether it was based on a true story, or inspired by real people. James Floyd is definitely a star in the making and Im looking forward to seeing more of him on the big screen.
What an incredible debut feature.