Down Terrace (2010)
Father and son Bill and Karl (real life father and son Bob and Robin Hill) have just been released from jail free and clear, but all is not well at Down Terrace. Patriarchs of a small crime family, their business is plagued with infighting. Karl has had more than he can take of his old man's philosophizing and preaching, and Bill thinks Karl's dedication to the family is seriously compromised when he takes up with an estranged girlfriend who claims to be carrying his baby. To make matters worse, there's an unidentified informant in their midst that could send them all to prison for a very long time, and none of their associates can be trusted. -- (C) Magnolia … More
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Critic Reviews for Down Terrace
The British do kitchen-sink realism extremely well; they also have a nice way with black comedy. It's rare, however, to see the two as wickedly combined as they are in Down Terrace.
A low-budget effort by British director Ben Wheatley, Down Terrace is an enjoyably nasty piece of business about a down-market sort of underworld clan.
A dark and hilarious thwomping of the whole miserablist British gangster genre.
Its litany of outrageous abuses and horrible crimes, as it careens from delicately phrased dinner-table insults to old ladies murdered in the street, is often gaspingly, ridiculously funny.
A grimly amusing portrait of a closed system in which the pressure is building to an explosion.
Down Terrace is the auspicious feature debut of Ben Wheatley, who's spent a decade directing sitcoms, Web-isodes and commercials while fruitlessly pitching scripts to Hollywood.
[Julia Deakin's] Ma Barker role (and performance) is essential to the film's grotesque yet enthralling familial fatalism.
This is the sort of thing you'd expect if the Coen Brothers were British and they decided to do their own version of a "Sopranos" movie set in Brighton, England.
Has some poignant moments but gets lost along the way in the macabre.
The junior Hill's script, written with director Wheatley, very deliberately considers the abilities of each of its elements, from the inanimate to the human, and uses each to their best effect.
Chances are you've never seen a crime family like the one in Ben Wheatley's unusual, ferociously witty dark comedy Down Terrace.
Doesn't provide much of an electric charge until very late in the game, making the first two acts of the picture an incredible test of endurance for anyone not utterly devoted to the throttled fury of British kitchen sink dramas.
An unnecessarily claustrophobic visual scheme dings this otherwise so-so slice of darkly humorous, stakes-free entertainment, good for fans of certain British TV crime serials, and those schooled in the work of Shane Meadows.
By mixing the situations of a crime drama with dysfunctional family dynamics, the everyday becomes accentuated, meaning that outbreaks of violence are absurdly comic but still retain a nasty edge.
Audience Reviews for Down Terrace
Cast: Robert Hill, Robin Hill, Julia Deakin, David Schaal, Tony Way, Kerry Peacock, Michael Smiley, Mark Kempner, Kitty Blue, Gareth Tunley
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
Summary: Just released from jail, father-and-son crooks Karl (Robin Hill) and Bill (Robert Hill) attempt to keep their two-bit illegal enterprise from crumbling while ferreting out the snitch who squealed on them to the cops in this British black comedy. The suspects include Karl's wife (Julia Deakin) and pregnant gal pal (Kerry Peacock), a hit man (Michael Smiley) and a reviled family friend (Tony Way).
My Thoughts: "I spent most of the time going back and forth over the film because the character's have such thick British accents and speak fast and low, that I had trouble understanding it all. That was just my own frustration with it. The other is I couldn't really get into the film. It had some funny moments here and there, and the acting was just OK. It just wasn't very interesting for it to be a mob film. There's also a claustrophobic feeling with the film, cause most of it is taking place in a small house. The character's are disturbed and paranoid about one another. Everyone is deceiving the other one. It is a film that has been made and made much better. Not one I would see again."
"Down Terrace" starts with Karl(Robin Hill) being released from prison and returning to his parents'(Robert Hall & Julia Deakin) home to help out in the family business of selling illegal drugs. While there, Garvey(Tony Way) welcomes him back with a cold one. And Valda(Kerry Peacock), a pen pal, has a little surprise for him...
To be honest, I do not really know what to do with "Down Terrace." It could be a comedy, but it's not really funny and mostly people just sit around the house doing nothing. Okay, so maybe it is a kitchen sink drama about the perils of family but then it is hard to take seriously with the odd turns the plot takes. To quote Batman, criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot and if they also use their own product, like they do here, a paranoid lot. But their actions should still have a rationale and the ending particularly does not make any sense.
Superb, tiny budgeted film shot in sequence in one week. The performances are natural and engaging, the film looks fantastic (DP Laurie Rose is a master) and is wonderfully edited. Blackly funny and thrilling with an edge of harsh violence.More
Ben Wheatley made 'Down Terrace' on a budget of less than ten thousand dollars, and that's without a doubt the most remarkable thing about the film. I always love hearing about filmmakers who produced their debuts on their own dime just because it's inspiring for a person like myself. 'Down Terrace' isn't a great film, and suffers from being tonally uneven and having a sloppy, confusing ending, but its black humor, docu-drama approach and performances all work well with each other, and it definitely foreshadows the greater things to come in Wheatley's career.More
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