Brash Young Turks

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Directed by Naeem Mahmood and Ash Mahmood

Naeem and Ash Mahmood’s Brash Young Turks is a brazen and restless crime drama about a brazen and restless generation. Built to be a hyper-sensory experience of fast and dangerous living, the film portrays modern day turbulence amongst underprivileged youth with comic book boldness and consistently welcome humour. It has to be larger than life because it’s conveying reality through impressions and sensations.

The film’s prologue quickly establishes the intense, high-emotions territory that Brash Young Turks wishes to navigate. We see two of the film’s central outcasts, Terrell and Shaz, befriend a third, Dave, as children. After the severely unstable Dave nearly kills his own abusive stepfather, he runs away with his newfound companions with hope for a self-determined future. Cut to ten years later and Terrell, Shaz and Dave are still living together, each trying to earn a living through means legitimate and otherwise. Terrell soon comes across the sixteen-year-old Mia, another spirited, ambitious but troubled young adult and the two quickly bond.

Mia (Melissa Latouche) and Terrell (Paul Chiedozie) in a brief respite from the mayhem
Mia (Melissa Latouche) and Terrell (Paul Chiedozie) in a brief respite from the mayhem

From here, the film consists of a series of narrative manoeuvres carried out with a reckless spontaneity that reflects the mindset of its characters. There’s an ongoing feeling that the story could go in a variety of directions, so the Mahmood brothers often choose to take the story in several directions at once, careening episodically from street crime, to romance, to blackmail, to a number of morally bankrupt establishments. Narrative details are all but absent because the film’s course is guided largely by instinct. It’s an almost inevitable side-effect of this wide-reaching approach that the results can be uneven in both dialogue and pacing but the various strands of the plot satisfyingly come together in the film’s climax, serving as a culmination point for all of the characters’ foolhardy actions and unresolved conflicts.

But what will likely stand out the most to any viewer is the film’s vibrant sense of place, with settings every bit as loud as the style that ties it all together. From the neon-coloured nightmare of the opening scenes to the rich interiors of the upscale abodes, no one could accuse Brash Young Turks of being too subtle and that’s just fine because the method is in sync with the madness at the film’s core. Sometimes a fully loaded 12 gauge is the appropriate tool for the job.

Brash Young Turks premieres at the Genesis Cinema, London, on the 19th September.

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