A Hundred Streets Review – Compelling, Engaging, A Treat

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A Hundred Streets, from Green Door Pictures and Caudwell Films, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcases the all British cast as they create a powerful contemporary drama interweaving the lives of a group of Londoners in Chelsea.

Directed by Jim O’Hanlon, A Hundred Streets stars Idris Elba, Gemma Arterto, Charlie Creed-Miles, Kierston Wareing, Franz Drameh and Ken Stott with Tom Cullen, Ryan Gage, Cali Nelle, Ashley Thomas, Lorraine Stanley, Jay Sutherland, Winston Ellis, Paul Hickey, Tim Treloar, Emily Wyatt, Leon Butler, Jordan A. Nash, Luke Adams, Kola Bokinni and Jo Martin. A Hundred Streets is written by Leon Butler.

A Hundred Streets opens as the camera pans the bedroom where Emily, played by Gemma Arterton and Jake, played by Tom Cullen, have escaped for the afternoon and as life intersects with stolen moments the time has come where she has to return to her life and he again tries to persuade her to remember them before all this.

The youthful photographs, old school, show the two, worlds from where they are now, laughing, thankful now, all these years later that someone captured their silliness.

Emily married Max, played by Idris Elba, Britain’s Hometown Hero, a football superstar, who has succumbed to the trappings of celebrity. As our story opens he has moved out as he was caught shagging the Nanny for their two adorable children.

The betrayal sent Emily into despair, uncertainty and the arms of her former flame. Max traded down from the nanny to nameless and deeper into drugs, cocaine and booze. He is a sloppy, addicted, mess of his former self. Bent on vengeance he continues to undermine Emily with dirty tricks that leave her at the check-out void of cash and credit. Of course, he shows up playing the provider, knowing she would be without cash, he brings an envelope and her resolve melts  . . .a little.

We meet Cabbie George, played by Charlie Creed-Miles, and his wife, Kathy, played by Kierston Wareing, as he is headed out to coach little league football. He and his Kathy have it all except a baby.

Throughout the course of A Hundred Streets, we see George and Kathy going through the necessities of adoption. They are unable to conceive, and the film never goes further than they desperately want a baby. So as they sit nervously in front of the decision makers, a old hooligan arrest from twenty years ago pops up on the radar which he believes will end their chances for approval. So far six months have passed with them sailing over every hurdle.

Life, they thought came up short until  . .  .tragedy.

We meet Gangbanger Kingsley, played by Franz Drameh, who is just released from prison, and staying at his Mom’s, played by Jo Martin, flat. She is tired, like most inner city African families hers is touched by gangs and drugs.

Kingsley returns home after a night of scoring and delivering, buying and selling, to find his possessions outside the door. After trying to persuade her to allow him back inside the house, she demands the keys and he hands them over and leaves.

A twist of fate has him on civil service duty paying his debt to society with the local clean-up crew at the local cemetery. As the twisting road of fate would have it he meets Terence, played by Ken Stott, and an unlikely bond was formed and a lifeline secured.

Terence is a thespian, a well-known theater talent who runs a Dramatic Performing Arts program at the local theater. Emily, whom we meet earlier, was once his protégé, before marriage and children took her from his guidance, stage and into a different fairytale.

After several days of helping the old man at the cemetery, Kingsley is forced to make a decision, the life he lives now, drugs, gangs, murder, taking orders from “the Man” or leaving the gangs and giving the theater life a go . .  that is if they accept him. His audition is raw and without formal training he delivers a powerful audition piece of life in the inner city.

To leave he has to buy his freedom and faces the ultimate choice.

I truly enjoyed A Hundred Streets. As the film opens the camera pans an unrecognizable city scape and skyline as A Hundred Streets is filmed in the London neighborhood of Chelsea.  The traditional landmarks that are immediately recognizable, the usual tourist landing places are absent.

Life on A Hundred Streets is contemporary London. An idyllic neighborhood, Chelsea is just down the road from high-rise estates, riverside opulence contrasts with the day-to-day grind. It’s in these streets that the character’s face defining moments, major choices and fundamental changes in their individual lives.

A Hundred Streets is powerful, compelling with each story equally gripping.  The cast, most of which I have not seen before, including Idris Elba whose name has been mentioned as the next possible James Bond, give impressive, shocking and astounding performances. The stories are modern, well written, tackling real life absorbing issues, and the drama captivating.

A Hundred Streets grabs the attention and keeps it. It is unclear when A Hundred Streets will be in wide release in the United States, it doesn't appear it has a distributor, through theatrical or VOD/Streaming. Either way see it if you can.

A Hundred Streets is a must see film!