There were some in the audience who couldn't believe that a film like Amos Gitai's Promised Land could be made, given its almost documentary like feel to an aged old problem of human trafficking for prostitution. I suppose those who feel that way would probably not take to London to Brighton, which like films such as Lilya-4-ever take an angle of child prostitution, and spun a different narrative out of it.
Here, it's actually out of desperation - in fact almost all the characters here reek of it, in exploiting children on the streets and enticing them with significant sums of money in order to satisfy the whims of some rich clients. The film takes on a non-linear narrative in having its tale told, which leaves you pretty much engaged in wanting to find out just why two women are on the flight as per its title, leaving behind the city of London in double quick time, where we are introduced at 3:07am to Joanne (Georgia Groome) in thick makeup, being hidden in a stank toilet cubicle by an older lady of the streets, Kelly (Lorraine Stanley), suffering from one badly bruised eye.
I suppose a modest production budget made this film look like a typical gritty English crime thriller, with the hand held camera bringing the audience into the thick of the action, either slowly drawing some sympathies from the lead female characters because of the lack of options made available to them, including being on the run, or presenting a sense of clear and present danger up close, especially when pimps Derek (Johnny Harris) and Chum (Nathan Constance) become inevitably close in catching up with the duo for an event they committed, kept closely under wraps.
The relationship between Kelly and Joanne remain one of the highlights of the film, two women who have nobody else to turn to, trying to determine what their next course of action might be at every turn. We see how Kelly takes it upon herself as the surrogate guardian of Joanne, but I suppose only because of the immense guilt that she brought to the table, for having again out of desperation, introduce a young girl into her dark underworld. Those who have watched Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging would see how Georgia Groome makes an about turn from privileged child, to one roaming the streets.
The other highlight which I had enjoyed was how thugs have the capability of systematically breaking down one's defenses, in balancing threats and carrots so as to gain some level of trust and obedience. Johnny Harris plays his role well as the pimp who constantly looks out for himself, of bowing to authority and pressure, while Nathan Constance as his chum actually had a lot more characterization going on for him instead. A pity though that it wasn't explored further, and had to be ended as it did in the film.
London to Brighton has a sense of danger permeating throughout, in a sort of hunter versus prey kind of film, that will leave you on the edge of your seat as it builds up to its last act, in a story succinctly told in under 80 minutes.
London to Brighton plays on 9 May 09 1900hrs at GV Vivocity, and comes with a bonus extra short Royalty written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams. Click on the image below for more details, or here directly to book your tickets.
For those who would like to participate in a masterclass with the Producers of London to Brighton - Alastair Clark and Rachel Robey, then click here for more details!