Movie Review - 100 Streets

I don't know too much about rugby players or the sport itself. I did hear about George Burgess and his two brothers who were all rugby players for the team owned by Oscar-winner Russell Crowe. Yet, the only reason I heard about Burgess was due to a nude photo scandal he had back in 2013. Prior to that, the only other rugby player I'd ever heard was Ben Cohen who made news around the world and in the United States when he launched his foundation against bullying and homophobia. In the years since, he's become a celebrity appearing on TV shows and movies. He's also been in the tabloids due to his marriage problems and latest girlfriend.

Idris Elba (Luther and Beasts of No Nation) stars as Max Moore, a former rugby player who has his own foundation and is having marriage troubles after having cheated on his wife. Again, I don't know too much about rugby players, but writer Leon F. Butler could have pulled inspiration from Ben Cohen's life, though I imagine Cohen isn't the only rugby player to have this basic, trouble-in-paradise story. However, Butler takes things to an over-the-top conclusion, which I'm sure never happened in reality to Cohen or any other rugby player.

Unfortunately, Elba's role, which he inhabits well, tells us nothing about how being a rugby player has led to this point. Max could be anything, a lawyer, a doctor, an actor or anything. Making him a rugby player had to have been purposeful. Yet, I didn't see it.

The focus is narrowed to Max and his wife, Emily, played by Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters). Emily is also the mother of Max's child, but she seems to have put her once acting career on hold. With the troubles in her marriage, she too is having an affair with a sexy photographer named Jake, played by Tom Cullen (Weekend and Downton Abbey). However, Max comes off as a horn-dog. He also comes off as a good father, but we never truly get why he cheated on his wife or what their problems were. We just assume he's a horn-dog and that's it. Since we never learn the reason why, it's easy to have him drift back and want to fix his marriage, but Butler's script has Max go off the deep end and there's no explanation for it. Maybe he's having a drunken and drug-addled episode, but it feels like Max's emotional swing comes out of nowhere.

Butler's script could have devoted more time to Max's story line, but instead it wants to be a triptych, as to give a better impression of the people living in a specific area of London. This is fine, but director Jim O'Hanlan never really does enough to distinguish the specific area from any other city area in any other country. Any such distinctions would probably only be noticeable to a Londoner already familiar with the neighborhood. That kind of subtlety can be appreciated by those within England, but it was lost on me.

Franz Drameh (Attack the Block and Legends of Tomorrow) co-stars as Kingsley, a young black kid who takes his name from Ben Kingsley because his dream is to be an actor. He is a bit of a thug. He used to be in prison, but he doesn't want to go back. He does want to better his life. He has to do community service at a cemetery where he meets an aging actor and theater producer named Terence, played by Ken Stott. Kingsley strikes a friendship with Terence that one wishes could evolve into something more but sadly doesn't. If you've seen Legends of Tomorrow, it's the same relationship as Drameh has with Victor Garber.

Drameh is a terrific, young actor and this role provides him a nice platform, but his story line of a black, street kid who is reformed thanks to an older white guy appealing to his artistic side is rendered just a cliché here. Gus Van Sant handled it a bit better in Finding Forrester, but only because he didn't have two other story lines to juggle.

Other than Elba's character, this movie has Charlie Creed-Miles as George, a taxi driver who is trying to adopt a child with his wife. His chances for adoption are hindered due to an issue in his past. He also sings in a band. Like with Elba's character, a crazy turn happens, yet it doesn't have the impact as one would hope or need to have this story line be worth screen time here. As such, it only distracts from the other two stories.

Not Rated but contains nudity, intense sexuality, language and violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 33 mins.


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