Film Review – Hyena (2014)

Hyena Stephen Graham

Title – Hyena (2014)

Director – Gerard Johnson (Tony)

Cast – Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, Neil Maskell, Elisa Lasowski, MyAnna Buring, Tony Pitts

Plot – Dodgy drug cop Michael (Ferdinando) finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into the seedy underbelly of the London crime scene as his tasked with investigating a group of rampaging Albanian criminals that specialise in people smuggling.

“Corruption! Theft! Extortion! Intimidating witnesses! Bribery! You want me to go on”?

Review by Eddie on 8/08/2016

Feel as though your recent bout of cop flicks haven’t been hitting the mark when it comes to the gritty, grimy and downright dark factors? Then Gerard Johnson’s Hyena is just the film your looking for!

As degenerate and devoid of lightness as your likely to want to get, Hyena is very much so a British crime film painted in the same brush as those dimly lit genre specialties like the U.K’s very own The Long Good Friday and in some ways grungy classics like The French Connection and while Johnson’s film sadly never eventuates into a film of special power Hyena is a never the less engaging watch, even though its often far too dark for its own good.

Centring around drug squad cop Michael who operates under a special set of ethics alongside his team of crack snorting and extortion loving partners of the badge, Hyena starts off in the shadows and while briefly flirts in tiny moments with entering the smallest areas of light retreats as the runtime wears on into the underworlds of London and its criminal underbelly and with its unflinching depiction of violence and a particularly vulgar assault that is likely to offend many that lay witness to it, Hyena is a film not made for everybody and makes no apologies in being so.

After only one previous film in the form of the equally small scale Tony, director Johnson should be commended for sticking to his guns and draws out great performances from his leading man Peter Ferdinando as the somehow likeable Michael and also the brilliant yet underused Stephan Graham as task force boss David Knight, with Graham once more showcasing just why his one of the industry’s most reliable actors with his rare ability to go between charming and dangerous at the drop of a hat. Despite Johnson’s and his main casts efforts however Hyena never fully gets going in a narrative sense and with a culmination that seems far too weak for what’s come before, Hyena is likely to leave many a viewer cold in both an attachment and engagement sense.

Commendable with its depiction of a seedy London cityscape and with a noteworthy score from Johnson’s brother Matt and some nice central performances from Ferdinando and Graham, Hyena is good quality material that could’ve been something special had it struck the right narrative balance in amongst all its limb chopping’s, swear words and dirty back alleys of a city that hides a dark yet violently alive world.

3 angry Albanians out of 5

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