One Hundred Streets focuses on the lives of 3 disparate characters who all reside within close proximity of one another in the Square Mile, as each must face up to some tough personal challenges. Gang member Kingsley (Franz Drameh) comes from a council estate where drugs and petty crime are rife. After another spell of community service, he vows to go straight and pursue his artistic leanings, but the local dealers refuse to loosen their grip on him. Forging a positive future for himself away from wrongdoing is clearly not going to be an easy task for Kingsley in an environment that nurtures the opposite. A short distance away in an upmarket part of town, former rugby Captain Max Moore (Idris Elba) has over the years enjoyed all the trappings of fame. Publicly Max is keen to promote a compassionate nice guy image, putting his weight behind charity fundraisers, whereas behind the scenes there is a darker side to his character. Max's infidelity has had a devastating impact on his marriage to wife Emily (Gemma Arterton) and despite wanting to get his life back on track, various addictions are starting to take their toll. Long suffering Emily meanwhile has embarked on an affair with old acquaitance Jake (Tom Cullen), while contemplating whether to kickstart her acting career again. Elsewhere chirpy Cabbie George (a sympathetic turn from Charlie Creed-Miles) longs to adopt a child with his supportive wife Kathy (Kierston Wareing), before a traumatic accident at work has a profound effect on him.
Director Jim O’Hanlon’s background is in television drama and it’s clearly evident here with this soapy offering. Multi-stranded storylines can work effectively on the big screen as Paul Haggis proved with his compelling Oscar winning feature Crash. Similarly Robert Altman’s LA set Short Cuts also garnered much acclaim in the nineties. A significant difference is that those movies clocked in at around 2 and 3 hours respectively. By comparison, 100 Streets packs so much narrative into a fleeting 90 minute running time that the story threads seem rushed and superficial. Leon Butler’s hackneyed screenplay explores some familiar themes of guilt and redemption, though it doesn’t always hold up to close scrutiny. All the cast are on fine form, though it’s Drameh who really manages to shine with an earnest performance that really makes the film worthwhile. His scenes opposite Ken Stott’s affable cemetery worker Terence are the most poignant of the piece as their unlikely friendship inspires some hope in the younger man.
The movie was shot on digital and the 2.35:1 presentation gives this low budget drama more of a cinematic feel. The film makers have made good use of locations around West London and the picture is bright and detailed throughout.
In terms of audio, there is a choice of Dolby Stereo 2.0 or 5.1. The dialogue is clear with no discernible issues.
Besides a basic menu offering scene selection and audio set-up, Signature Entertainment’s DVD release of 100 Streets lacks any extras, not even a trailer or featurette. The absence of subtitles is particularly disappointing.
This multi-stranded drama passes by quickly and despite some shortcomings in the screenplay the film is kept on track by a reliable ensemble of familiar faces. Newcomer Franz Drameh’s excellent performance makes it all worthwhile. Signature Entertainment's DVD offers solid picture and audio, but no additional content.