Us and Them Review
A very English Purge
This low budget Brit crime drama tries to make socio-political points out of its home invasion horrors.Writer/director Joe Martin's debut attempts some notions of temporal displacement in terms of non-linear narrative and some semblance of a punk rock vibe to the piece. However, it neither hits the right notes to make this the 2018 version of the classic anti-establishment gem, If... nor delivers the more visceral, bloody thrills of what is, quite clearly, the US counterpart to this production - The Purge. As such, this may have worked better as a Channel 4 drama.
Velit ad placerat porta natoque risus molestie mattis.
Jack Roth (of Britannia fame) grabs the lead role by the horns as Danny, a working class warrior determined to kick-start his very own little class war by taking a rich family hostage and playing psychological mind-games on them, ostensibly to get them to open their safe, but really in a bid to redress the balance between the 1%-ers and everybody else.
Us and Them certainly provides enough meat for Roth to sink his teeth into, getting plenty of airtime to rant about social injustice as if he's in an entirely different movie from the one that we are watching. The psychological conflict isn't fully realised, but even the nascent notions work quite well - with Roth's Danny toying with the almost equally resistant father of the family, who simply refuses to give in to his captors even upon threat to not only his life but those of his wife and daughter. It's these hints of moral bankruptcy that offer glimpses of something more than the film ever really gets into, and which could have been better explored.
Nowhere near as bold as it thinks it is.
There's some dark humour which doesn't always work that well, often undermining the more serious issues that the script attempts to raise, but the more jarring - although ultimately necessary - conflict comes from the presence of Andrew Tiernan's more ruthless antagonist (Tieran you might remember as the memorably unstable stutterer in Cracker), putting a more conventionally Purge-like twist on the proceedings far too late in the narrative.
Clearly the cast need better material than this, and the director - trying to leverage 90s Tarantino on a shoe-string budget and with a Brit cast and setting - needs better material too before passing final judgment, with Us and Them nowhere near as effectively bold as it thinks it is.
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