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The Grind

Like many a genre defining movie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has a lot to answer for, because it has inspired not only a huge box of rip-offs, most of them have been terrible. Sad to say, low budget feature The Grind can be added to the list of gritty, London based dramas that promises much but fails to deliver.

It stars Danny John Jules, an extremely fine actor who is best known for his role as The Cat from Red Dwarf, but is one of those incredibly talented types who shines in many roles. If you’re very old, you may remember him from Scum, a much better gritty British b-movie that I was really hoping The Grind would be. It also features actress Zoe Tapper, who should be familiar to fans of Demons1 and Survivors, though she’s almost criminally underused in this. The film’s star is Freddie Connor, who turns in a credible performance as a man who’s in over his head. Connor carries the story as best he can, but it’s clear that there isn’t much to carry.

It’s main selling point is “some bloke from Eastenders.” I’m sure the Jamie Foreman fanclub is delighted with The Grind. And by fanclub, I mean his mum.

The Grind is well named; it takes about 90 minutes to tell a half-an-hour tale, and though I’m typically loathe to be overly negative about a small-budget movie, its biggest flaw is that the story isn’t that good. The production is fine (though obviously on a budget) and it has a great supporting cast. It’s just a huge pity that the central premise has been done to death, and adds nothing new to genre.

There’s very little here for any sort of fan; fans of the Danny John Jules are better off watching him in Red Dwarf or maybe Maid Marian and those who love gritty, cockney based dramas have much better things to choose from. There just aren’t enough dans of boring, low budget trash, I suppose.

1: By fans, I mean Stephen Smith in Burnley, and his cat.

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