City of Tiny Lights

"Good"

City of Tiny Lights Review


After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex noir mystery set in multiracial London. It's a stylishly made film, anchored by another superbly involving performance by Riz Ahmed. But its low budget shows in the way it strains to obscure secrets in blurry flashbacks, using intriguing characters to create a lot of atmosphere while neglecting to properly tell the story.

It's set in London's northwest inner-suburbs, where Tommy (Ahmed) grew up. He lives with his feisty but ill father (Roshan Seth) and works as a private detective. His latest client is the high-class hooker Melody (Cush Jumbo), who is concerned because one of her colleagues has gone missing. As he looks for her, Tommy discovers the dead body of a prominent businessman who has a link to his childhood friend Haafiz (James Floyd), now a high-flying property developer. And things are getting increasingly messy, with American spies prowling around and a local Muslim brotherhood entangled in the case. Tommy hires a sparky neighbour (Damson Idris) to help him, and then he runs into his childhood sweetheart Shelley (Billie Piper), who brings up emotions he thought he'd left behind.

All of this is intercut with blurred flashbacks of Tommy, Haafiz and Shelley when they were 17 years old. This stirs in some intriguing emotions, even if the scenes feel like a distraction since they take so long to reveal their secrets and never quite connect with the central mystery. Travis keeps the tone warm and dense, with dark colours, emotive faces and Tommy's probing voiceover, all of which creates a vivid sense of atmosphere. On the other hand, the plot merely gets more knotted as it goes along, bringing in more people and themes. So even if the story never quite ties up all of its lose ends, at least it's a fascinating portrayal of the ethnic mix in most London neighbourhoods.

It's also full of solid performances that add life and energy to each scene. Ahmed is excellent, a charismatic actor who carries us along even as Tommy begins to lose the will to pursue the case any further. His scenes with Piper have a strong emotional energy to them. And Floyd is a striking presence circling around them. But all of the characters are rather mumbly and enigmatic. This effectively echoes the film noir genre, even as it leaves the movie feeling somewhat superficial. There's clearly something important going on in here, but it's all so murky that it's not easy to see.

Watch the trailer for City Of Tiny Lights:



City of Tiny Lights

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th April 2017

Production compaines: BBC Films, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, UK Film Council, NDF International, Sixteen Films, Fel-UK

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pete Travis

Producer: Rebecca O'Brien, Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto

Starring: as Tommy Akhtar, as Shelley, as Lovely, Cush Jumbo as Melody, as Farzad Akhtar, Hannah Rae as Emma

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Advertisement
Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.