UK, 2015, 103 minutes, Colour.
Gregg Sulkin, Meghan Markle, Josh Myers, Christian Berkel.
Directed by Reg Traviss.
Anti-social is announced as a true story, a look at something of East London’s underbelly, the young gangs, their rivalries, robberies, shootouts, drug dealing.
The film has an authentic atmosphere, the streets of London, the contrast between the East and the jewellery shops of central London.
The plot focuses on two brothers, Marcus (Josh Myers) and Dee (Gregg Sulkin). The two grew up with the local gangs but Marcus has become a professional gangster, with smash and grab jewellery robberies with his friends, fencing the jewels and getting money, investing it in drugs, but being robbed of the drugs and then planning, with the dealer, a much more extensive robbery, jewellery valued at more than £20 million.
Dee on the other hand is a graffiti artist, talented, making his own plates, attracting the attention of an art dealer from Berlin who offers him the opportunity to go to live there and participate in exhibitions. The complication is that in the shootout, Marcus is wounded and hospitalised and he and the gang put pressure on Dee to take his place.
Dee has an American girlfriend, a model, and they plan to go to Berlin together. (She is played by Meghan Markle – with the frisson in retrospect that in 2016 she was Prince Harry’s American girlfriend!)
The dilemma is whether Dee will participate or not, especially after the firebombing of his home ande its effect on his mother, his sense of loyalty to his brother’s appeal – and his participation, and the tension and nervousness as he goes to the airport for his trip to Berlin.
There is further information during the final credits – but no explicit moral comment at all.
1. The title? The expectations based on a true story? London, East London, the gangs, their behaviour, attitudes, anti-social and amoral?
2. The authenticity of the settings, the East London streets, homes? The gang headquarters? Central London, the jewellers’ shops?
3. Action, the robberies, the shootouts, brutality in the streets? The musical score?
4. The focus on the two brothers, Marcus and Dee, Dee telling the story to Kirsten, the Spanish mother, Marcus’s father, violent death, these father? The mother at home, stoned? The past and the boys and their belonging to gangs, the activities, their friend?
5. Marcus as an adult, his gang, personality, girlfriend? The smash and grab robberies, fencing the jewels? The drug plans, his gang agreeing, going to the dealer, spending the money, getting the drugs, hiding them in his friend’s house? The attack on the house, the rival gang, the violence, sexual assaults and the finding of the drugs? His going to the dealer, the proposition for the new robbery? His agreeing? The friends and the planning? The shootouts, Marcus being wounded, in hospital?
6. Dee, younger, seeing him as a graffiti artist, his designs, the painting, in the streets? His relationship with his mother? His bond with Marcus, markers giving him the money? Kerstin, her modelling, the bond between them, going to live with her? The arrangement the meeting with Phillip, the discussion about his art, the possibilities of the Berlin exhibition, the support, the tickets, the plans, Kirsten agreeing to go with him?
7. The characters in the rival gangs, violent, shooting? The moral stances, antisocial?
8. The world of modelling, photography, Kirsten and her American background?
9. The buildup to the robbery, Marcus in hospital, his friends telling Dee he had to participate, Marcus and his plea, the firebombing of the house and the effect on his mother, Dee and his refusal?
10. The robbery, the two men going in, disguise, guns, the assistant, taking all the jewels? Leaving, the girl as hostage, the pursuit, the shootings in the street, the car, the associate blocking the police, Dee waiting on his bike, getting the jewels and riding in the opposite direction?
11. The news that the three men were killed by the police? Dee and the interrogation by the police? Dee and his bricking up the jewels?
12. Going to Germany, Dee and his moodiness, Kirsten and her reaction, going to the airport, the tension, customs, passport control, watching the television news, Dee nervous, in the plane?
13. The final credits, the further information, six months later, Dee and his success and his future? Marcus and his going on the holiday with his girlfriend?
14. No final information about police, the jewels, criminal activity?