Monday, 25 June 2012

Fast Girls

Rating: ★★½

Kidulthood's Noel Clarke definitely tripped a hurdle with his latest movie Fast Girls.

Style and substance wins the race 
The film follows Lenora Crichlow's character, Shania Andrews, as she goes from a poor, nearly homeless, East London teenage to a famous, world champion relay runner. So it's your basic rags-to-riches story with a little bit of London flavor thrown in. Everything else that happens in the film is just as cheesy and predictable as the plot.
Noel Clarke is famous for making his films with a cool, edgy London style. Most of which he writes and stars in. Fast Girls on the other hand was a very clichéd film overall that has been dressed up to look like one of Noel's gritty urban dramas.

Baton bitch
The most stereotypical character of them all was the rich, blonde girl called Lisa Temple (Lily James). Lisa's dad manages the relay team and, as you can probably guess, they are both out to get Shania because she's Lisa's biggest competition. These kind of films always have to have the pretty blonde bitch. Also Lily is a terrible choice for the role simply because she is clearly a very nice girl in real life so her portrayal just seems awkward and unbelievable. She's no Regina George.

This film did have quite a convincing London atmosphere (especially because it looked freezing cold most of the time) and I really liked the Trix Warren character (Lorraine Burroughs) because it felt less formulaic and more true, and Lorraine unlike Lily, was a lot more convincing.

Silver in enjoyment
If you have the ability to ignore the never ending clichés then you might enjoy Fast Girls. Especially if you're a girl between the ages of 10 and 15. It did have some heartwarming moments and the main character's journey was quite empowering. And there are some fun scenes, I particularly enjoyed one when the girls go on a night out and end up using their running abilities to escape from some rude boys. But having seen many very similar films in the past, I was not that impressed.

Noel has a false start
I find it strange that Noel would write a film that seems to be aimed at young girls because they are so far from his usual audience. Fast Girls might even run the risk of alienating his own fans. But with the success of film franchises such as Bring It On and The Cutting Edge, I can understand why Noel might want to make a British equivalent. And I have to admit that Fast Girls was better than most of the endless Bring It On sequels - and it was cool to see Noel making the tie-in between Hackney and the Olympics. Especially given that after all the promises, most young people in Hackney that I know seem kind of underwhelmed by the whole Olympic fiasco.

All in all, this is a very watchable example of the teen sports movie genre with a nice London edge, but it is kind of disappointing seeing Noel doing something so generic or should I say run of the mill!

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