London 2012. The Olympic games may have included shooting amongst its events, but absolutely no medals were available for shootings of the unpleasant gangland variety. With the games now finished, the release of Twenty8k tells a fictional story of a very different build up to the world-pleasing events, in a combination of drama and detective story.
London, 2012. Fashion executive Deeva Jani (Parminder Nagra) has been working in Paris and her big-break show is but weeks away. However she decides to return home to London to help with a family crisis. Gang member Pete has been murdered, shot outside a nightclub and Deeva’s brother Vipon (Sebastian Nanena), a member of the Twenty8k gang, is the prime suspect, especially given that witnesses saw him running away from the scene with the murder weapon in his hand. But Deeva wants to believe his innocence. The stakes are high; there are rival gangs and the police and politicians to consider as Deeva tries, with ex-gang member turned youth worker Clint O’Connor (Jonas Armstrong), to examine and intercept phone records, view CCTV surveillance, confront witnesses and do anything she can to get to the bottom of the case. It’s a complex situation involving gangs, the relatives of both agitators and victims, drugs, blackmail, prostitution and class issues. Meanwhile her brother has to contend with remand prison, whether he is actually guilty or not.
Twenty8k takes the standard elements of a city gangster film, adds a trendy soundtrack and mixes in some relationship and politics issues to make an eminently watchable crime drama with gang-centred violence as its focus. The central character Deeva, who works as the amateur private investigator of the piece, is distanced enough from the turmoil of the action but has a believable business background and an emotional reason to get involved, which gives the audience someone to identify with. Ultimately this helps makes the revelations in the film that extend beyond the apparently simple gang orientated murder more authentic and understandable. The main plot, which initially comprises personal drama and gangland violence, develops to take in a wider context of big-wig old male perverts subverting justice and hiring local hookers with horrific consequences. This is a complex story and the characters involved have a variety of backgrounds and motivations, at times making it feel as though this could have extended into a TV drama series.
As a moderately budgeted drama detective story Twenty8k is a well filmed, written and acted piece (with newcomer Sebastian Nanena giving a notable performance) that, while it may not fill the multiplexes or win major awards, is solid film-making.