Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Adulthood does something amazing in the fact that not only is it just as good as its predecessor, its actually alot better. While the first film had good acting and good writing, the direction lacked the personal feel the movie needed. Kidulthood would have been alot better if Noel Clarke would have directed it, like he did Adulthood. His direction fixes every problem the direction of the last movie had, where the last movie seemed distant and afraid to get close, this movie gets the camera into a position were it feels alive, and uses hand held camera work to its benefit.
Adulthood picks up six years after the end of Kidulthood. With Sam Peel (Noel Clarke) being released form jail for the murder of Trife. Upon being released he rides a bus to a park and is attacked by a man, Sam beats the man up and the man tells him he and his family are in dang from Jay (Adam Deacon). The rest of the movie follows Sam trying to protect his family by stopping Jay and any other threat, and Jay trying to find Sam so he can kill him.
The characters of Adulthood are what make the movie. While Kidulthood had some decent character development for the character of Trife, every other character is pretty underdeveloped. This film expands on the characters of Sam, Jay, and Moony exponentially.
Side characters first; Claire who is Sam's ex-girlfriend, is in a relationship with a better man and seems to be leading a better life. Alisa, Trife's girlfriend from the last film, is now a single mother and berates Sam for the actions he has cause, mainly taking Trife out of his son's life. Lexi (Scarlett Johnson) who is Becky's(from the first film) sister, and is addicted to drugs, provided to her by Jay. And finally, Omen (Jacob Anderson), Dabs (Ben Drew), and Blammy (Don Klass), a trio of friends who commit crimes together. Dabs is hired by Jay to kill Sam, and knocks out Blammy when he argues and recruits Omen (who turns out later to be Sam's brother) and another friend to kill Sam (he doesn't tell them who he is) by telling them he was the one who hit Blammy. They catch up with Sam and Omen finds out who Sam is and they turn on Dabs and Sam knocks him out.
Now Jay, Jay was one of my favorite parts about the first film not because he was a fascinating character in it, but because Adam Deacon brought the character to life. He plays the part even better in this film, conveying Jay's lack of self-esteem in his exaggerated walk and his angry attitude. Jay seems to have become even more violent and confrontational than ever after his friend's murder. The murder seems to have affected him deeply and watching his best friend being killed has messed him up and turned him into an angry, violent, almost psychopathic drug dealer. While becoming more outwardly violent he is secretly traumatized and mentally broken by his friends death which is brought into life by Sam at the end.
Moony didn't have a very big role in the first movie, he was just kind of a lackey of Trife and Jay's. He doesn't have a very big role in the film either, but his character grows alot with the short time he is there. On the complete opposite spectrum of Jay, Moony has dropped his pretend gangster persona and is going to college and has a steady girlfriend, even going by his real name, Robert. While heavily affected by his friend's death, unlike Jay, he learned from his friend's death and decided to change his life. He goes to school, he works, and treats his girlfriend with respect. Partway through the film Jay recruits him into finding Sam by playing the emotions of Trife's death against Moony. Moony soon realizes that this isn't what Trife would want and quickly backs out, opting to go back to his girlfriend.
Sam has one of the greatest character arcs I've seen in a long time. You hate Sam at the end of Kidulthood, HATE him, because you spent the whole movie identifying with Trife and getting to know and like him. Then Sam kills him, and you hate him for it. Then this movie does what I thought was the impossible. It makes you like Sam. Sam has spent 6 years, and spends the entire movie, regretting what happened, he hates what he did. There are many flashbacks to him in prison and it shows him coming to the realization that no matter how big and hard he thinks he is, he isn't that big. He thought he was tough, but quickly realized he wasn't. He spends the whole movie trying to protect his family, not even really with violence, which he no longer seems to enjoy, but by talking. All he wants to do is talk to the people behind the threats so his family isn't hurt. Every now and then he gets angry and yells at someone or threatens them, but you can tell his heart just isn't in it anymore. He learned his lesson, and he'll never forget it.
The ending to Adulthood is perfect, for the movie. Sam is outside his apartment after getting rid of the threat, besides Jay. When he's walking to his door, Jay appears and attacks him, they fight no one really winning with Sam knocking Jay's gun away. They separate and Jay goes for his gun while Same goes for a bat he hid earlier. The end up getting both at the same time and Sam drops his bat while Jay points the gun at him. Sam starts talking about how he won't do it, not because he's weak, but because he is just like Sam was. Pretending to be hard and tough, but not willing to commit murder. He tells Jay about his time in prison and shows him the scars where he was stabbed, beaten, and where he tried to commit suicide. Jay eventually breaks down and Sam throws away his gun. He starts walking into his apartment when Jay tells him it isn't over. The film ends with a montage of what how the characters are, including a message received by Sam from Lexi telling him she wants to change. It doesn't clarify that the fighting between Jay and Sam is over, and it shouldn't of.
The ending plays out perfectly and sums up the whole film nicely. (there was quite a bit I left out) Over all Adulthood is a near perfect movie to me. The writing and directing from Noel Clarke is top notch, improving ten-fold on the previous film, especially the directing. The performances given by leads Noel Clarke as Sam and Adam Deacon as Jay are astounding. They embody their character from how they speak the lines to how they move and act. The character arc of Sam Peel is one of the best I've seen in a while, you go from hating him at the end of the first movie to feeling sorry for him and then finally liking him. I would definitely say watch this movie. I would suggest watching the first movie before it, but it isn't that necessary considering this film explains what happens pretty nicely, but its better if you watch the first one. A fantastic movie that not only matches it sequel, but does the near impossible and surpasses it on every level.