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100 Streets Review

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★★★★★

This inner-city triptych follows the lives of a small cluster of Londoners, all dwelling within a single square mile of the capital. A philandering former rugby star (Idris Elba), spends his nights snorting coke and groping younger women, while his estranged wife (Gemma Arterton) juggles their two kids and her own rebound lover. A crooning cabbie (Charlie Creed-Miles) and his wife (Kierston Wareing) are trying to adopt, until a traffic incident sends their lives into freefall. Meanwhile, a reluctant drug dealer (Franz Drameh) decides to leave street life behind in order to pursue a career in the arts, after being inspired by a retired actor (Ken Stott).

The three stories tangle around one another, crossing paths with far less contrivance than the setup might suggest. Covering alcoholism, manslaughter, infidelity and petty crime, there’s a rich spread of melodrama on offer, but none of the tales have meat enough to satisfy alone. Together, though, they form a varied backdrop to showcase some respectable character work. Elba and Arterton are both on fine form, though Elba in particular is under-served by the writing, spiralling into a ludicrously overwrought nose-dive with very little provocation. Drameh is the standout here, bringing a wounded humanity to his street thug with a heart of gold. After flashier turns in Attack The Block and Edge Of Tomorrow, plus his run as Firestorm in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, this subtle, understated role might finally earn the London-born actor the credit he deserves.

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