Set among estates, subways and drugs dens, Adulthood gives a rare, and gritty, glimpse of life away from the million-pound white-washed mansions of west London.

It is a real world existing in another dimension to the urban fantasy conjured by saccharine Brit-flicks of the Notting Hill variety.

Here in run-down North Kensington, young director/lead actor Noel Clarke portrays a sub-culture of causal violence, sex, drugs and crime. Of gun and knife-carrying hood-rats, brutal drug dealers and skunk-smoking youngsters cornered by their circumstances.

So far so ordinary perhaps, but what sets this sequel to Kidulthood apart is the humanity revealed by each of the lead characters, acting as a timely reminder in these lock-'em-up times that good people can do bad things.

Adulthood tells the story of Sam (Clarke) on his release from jail for the manslaughter of Trife. The pace is set as Sam struggles to make amends for his crime while dodging Trife's friend Jay, who is intent on bloody revenge and hunts him across North Kensington and Hammersmith.

It is a straightforward morality tale of choices and consequences, with a seemingly doomed Sam painfully facing up to the impact of his crime on Trife's family and friends and even his own mother.

The depth comes through the suffering of the main protagonists, who emerge dislocated and damaged by their own actions - and those of others - but somehow intact.

The film sweeps through current themes such as rape, knife crime and murder, but somehow avoids the temptation to gloss or sentimentalise with credible acting, accents, language and humour - all aided by the grime soundtrack and backstreet locations.

For me the only drawback (there has to be one) is the at times unnecessary montage and splicing. But that hardly detracts from the feeling that Adulthood is as emotive, raw and important a depiction of contemporary British life since Gary Oldman's Nil By Mouth.


THE locations in the film are in the area I grew up in - the area I know well. The little record shop, the corner shop across the road, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road Station, those were all places I used to go to.

Every film I had seen about my area might as well have had polo players riding down the street on horses because it's all Bridget Jones-meets-Four Weddings-meets-Notting Hill with old Granty in them.

I lived there, right there, and yet you never get to see where I lived.

The main thing for me in Kidulthood and this one was to show how the two cultures mix. Like when the girls go round to get drugs from the posh guys in the first film.

I wanted to show that the whole area is a real melting pot - there are so many different cultures and people from different walks of life.

Portobello Road was just there on my doorstep, so for me,I wanted to show it as I know it. There was talk about doing the first film in South London, but I said no, we're not doing it in South London, not because I dislike it, but for the simple fact that I don't know it, so how can I write about an area that I didn't grow up in.

People watching this movie are bound to say, 'what you are trying to say?' I'm not trying to say anything.You raise questions in films and it's up to other people to answer them.

Characters like Jay are the scourge of society,they rob people,they sell drugs and they are vicious, but who keeps them in business? Who is buying the drugs?

If he could afford to buy drugs, he wouldn't have to sell them. I knew various people like Sam when I was growing up. He was definitely based on one guy who I knew at school, but I don't know people like that now.

For me,this whole film is about choices, it's about how every single choice you make, especially in that sort of world, is going to affect what happens to you and to other people.

I want the audience to come and out and think that they just saw a good British film. But I also want to see change, it's time to move on, to stop this thuggery and this street culture."