My Brother The Devil- BFI Film Fest 2012
Any drama that focuses on the ‘urban’ lifestyle & that is set around the council estates of London or the UK usually falls into the pattern of repetition .You know what’s in store and in most cases how it ends, there’s usually tragedy, angst, anger, drugs, sex and turf wars. We’ve seen it all before in numerous forms from The Bill to Channel 4’s Top boy, Noel Clarke’s Kidulthood & Adulthood as well as others like Bullet Boy.
To say that My brother is the devil steers clear of these trappings would be a lie but it does cast a light on other individuals of ethnic minority (Egyptian) who are as alienated as the predominately black youths featured & streotyped within these dramas. These kids have the the same feeling of alienation, who’s culture of their parents clash with their own views, parents who were happy enough at one point to move to a country were jobs were plentiful and life more stable, this is no longer an inheirted outlook with their views old fashioned the thought of being a nine to five slave trapped in the system on a low paid wage isn't one to subscribe to. To good for work yet to proud to sign on & so theres only one other way to make ends meet and by what else but selling drugs that fuels post code wars causing territories were lines can’t be crossed.
The story focuses on Mo who looks up to his elder brother Rashid and his life & (hanging on the streets, selling drugs and fighting ) making fast money and living as much as a life as he can. Change is in the air with Mo graduating from school and obtaining decent GCSE’s which sets him up for a promising future yet one he is doing his best to steer himself away from. Whereas a tragedy within Rashid’s immediate circle allows for Rashid to revaluate his life and focus more on the straight and narrow getting a job and meeting an employer that allows him to question every aspect of himself, yet escape is never that easy.
Elements of refreshing notes are evident within the film and it does question faith, identity and masculinity and how its viewed on the streets, It shows how infectious and poisonous the street life can be yet with the sense of family and belonging and the lure of easy cash it can draw even the smartest of youth’s in.These are kids doing what they can to get by. It’s beautifully shot and doesn’t go over board and shows that there is beauty within the most repressed areas of London.