BROTH­ER­HOOD Noel Clarke takes us in­side the fi­nal part of his tril­ogy of thrillers

Empire (UK) - - RE.VIEW - words CHRIS HE­WITT


__ Like Kidult­hood and

Adult­hood, Broth­er­hood is very much in­formed by Clarke’s knowl­edge of west Lon­don. The open­ing night­club shoot­ing was filmed in and around fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing Lad­broke Grove club Mode. “It used to be called sub­ter­ranean,” says Clarke. “I used to go when I was younger. I still live in the bor­ough, so the lo­ca­tion man­ager’s job is hard — I tend to know where I’m writ­ing about.”

00:01:51 THE CREDIT

__ As the cast list un­folds, Clarke’s name doesn’t ap­pear un­til the end, when he takes an “and Noel Clarke” credit. He in­sists this wasn’t a de­lib­er­ate gam­bit to pre­pare the au­di­ence for the pos­si­bil­ity of Sam’s demise. “I’m writ­ing the film, I’m di­rect­ing it, I don’t need to be num­ber one on the call sheet,” he says. “If you give that to an­other ac­tor, it bol­sters them, makes them happy. And you can get them cheaper!”


__ Talk­ing with crime king­pin Un­cle Cur­tis (Cor­nell John), who has tar­geted Sam for re­venge, Clarke de­liv­ers, for him, the movie’s key lines: “No mat­ter how much you try to evolve, no mat­ter how much you try to dull the mem­ory of it or ex­plain to peo­ple that you’ve im­proved as a per­son, they al­ways try and drag you back in.” Says Clarke, “That speech en­com­passes Sam in the film, and where I was in my life.”


__ Although Sam goes on some­thing of a ram­page of re­venge at the end, take note: he doesn’t ac­tu­ally kill any­one. Yes, he takes a nail gun to one par­tic­u­larly odi­ous op­po­nent, but he’s not in the busi­ness of snuff­ing peo­ple out. “He can’t,” ad­mits Clarke. “He’s spent his whole life re­gret­ting killing some­one [at the end of

Kidult­hood]. If he kills some­one, he hasn’t learned any­thing. The whole three films are about that.”

00:06:28 THE KEG

__ For Clarke, who re­turned to Sam Peel’s world af­ter a decade away, the film was a chance to show how much had changed. In­clud­ing his physique. Here, Sam stud­ies him­self in a gym mir­ror. “He’s older and out of shape,” says Clarke. “I al­ways write these films from where I am. I’m older. I put on a stone-and-a-half for that — dif­fi­cult to lose.” One shot, of Sam in the shower, was “re­framed” to re­move Clarke’s arse from view.

00:38:47 THE JIBE

__ As Sam leaves the meet­ing with Cur­tis, he finds his way blocked by a gang of kids who fall about laugh­ing when Sam says, “Out of my way, blud.” “Times have changed,” ad­mits Clarke. “In Adult­hood we said ‘blud’ a lot, and I saw a video mock­ing that. Over the years, peo­ple stopped say­ing it, so I thought I’d take the piss out of it.” If you want to know what’s street now, Clarke can’t help you. “They say loads of dif­fer­ent things.”


__ In one of the most sur­pris­ing scenes, not only does Henry (Arnold Oceng) talk the threat­en­ing Yardz (played by grime artist Stor­mzy) out of killing him, but Yardz re­veals a softer side, turn­ing his back on crime. “For me, it’s an im­por­tant scene,” says Clarke. “Some­times these kids are just kids and it’s not what they want to do. But what the fuck else are they go­ing to do when they feel they’ve been given no op­por­tu­ni­ties?”


__ Early on, Sam’s se­duced by To­nia Sotiropoulou’s Janette in an at­tempt to black­mail him into work­ing for Big Bad Da­ley (Ja­son Maza). “That was a scene of con­tention,” ad­mits Clarke. “But I put it in to show that Sam is massively flawed. I spoke to my wife about that scene. She said, “Would you do that?” I said, “I’d never put my­self in that sit­u­a­tion!” For the sex scenes later on, Clarke wore a pouch to en­case his fam­ily jew­els.

00:56:02 THE DEATH

__ With Sam re­sist­ing all at­tempts from Cur­tis to lure him into a con­fronta­tion, an in­cit­ing in­ci­dent is re­quired. So they pitch Sam’s mum (Ad­joa An­doh) off the bal­cony of her flat. Clarke says he went through many per­mu­ta­tions, con­sid­er­ing sev­eral of Sam’s rel­a­tives. “The peo­ple you’re clos­est to are your kids and your mum,” he says. “But I thought [killing the kids] was too much. It was a big de­ci­sion, but it had to be done.”

01:37:28 THE END IS NIGH

__ “It’s done.” With the film’s last line, and a “Christo­pher Reeve look to the cam­era”, Sam de­clares his po­si­tion on fu­ture skul­dug­gery. Again, Sam is speak­ing for Clarke. “When you do some­thing too much, peo­ple can turn against it,” he says. “I’m done with these films.”


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