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No sympathy with the Victim


(15A, limited release, 86 minutes)

Director: Alex Pillai Stars: Ashley Chin, Jason Maza, Ashley Madekwe, David Harewood, Anna Nightingale


A British crime thriller with pretentions towards a social conscience, Alex Pillai's Victim manages to be simultaneously earnest and trashy, an unusual but useless achievement.

It also takes the 'I had a bad childhood' defence to new and absurd levels, as we're asked to sympathise with the plight of East End criminal, Tyson (Ashley Chin).

Tyson and his flashy, high-living associates rob and beat rich business folk for a living.

But Tyson also looks after his teenage sister Nyla (Letitia Wright). When Tyson falls in love with a respectable woman called Tia (Ashley Madekwe), he dreams of turning his back on crime.

But we all know how well that kind of plan usually works out, and he's soon roped into pulling one last job.

After a violent opening, Victim abandons the trappings of an action movie and gets bogged down in a tedious and predictable psychological drama.

While some of the acting is passable, there's a flat, made-for-TV quality to the whole enterprise, and the dialogue, especially a high-minded concluding speech, is amateurish.

But the film's biggest sin is asking us to feel sorry for a man who totes guns and robs and beats strangers but would never dream of honestly earning anything himself.

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