Film poster for Ill Manors
|Directed by||Ben Drew|
|Produced by||Atif Ghani|
|Written by||Ben Drew|
Ryan De La Cruz
|Music by||Plan B
|Editing by||David Freeman
|Studio||Film London Microwave
|Distributed by||Revolver Entertainment|
|Running time||121 minutes|
|Box office||£453,570 (UK)|
Ill Manors (stylised as ill Manors) is a British crime drama film written, co-scored and directed by Ben Drew. The film revolves around the lives of eight main characters, played by Riz Ahmed, Ed Skrein, Keith Coggins, Lee Allen, Nick Sagar, Ryan De La Cruz, Anouska Mond and Natalie Press, and features six original songs by Plan B, which act as a narration for the film. Ill Manors is a multi-character story, set over the course of seven days, a scenario where everyone is fighting for respect. The film focuses on eight core characters, and their circles of violence, as they struggle to survive on the streets. Each story weaves into one another, painting an ultra-realistic gritty picture of the world which is on the brink of self-destruction. Each story is also represented by a different rap song.
|This section is incomplete. (March 2013)|
Set in Forest Gate, London, the film begins with partners Ed (Ed Skrein) and Aaron (Riz Ahmed) drug-dealing. Undercover police chase the two to a closed gate – Aaron manages to climb over and Ed hands his phone over to take care of it. Before Ed can climb over, he is caught and sent to jail. Aaron takes the phone to Kirby (Keith Coggins), a well-known figure across the area who has recently come out of prison, who keeps Ed's phone at his house. The song "Drug Dealer" leads the flashback story of Kirby and Chris (Lee Allen), who was Kirby's protégé but is now independent. Ed is released from prison and meets up with Aaron, telling Ed that his phone has been taken but knows who has it.
At the local park, various gangs of youths gather. A young teenage boy Jake (Ryan De La Cruz) meets his friend and borrows some money to purchase cannabis off Marcel (Nick Sagar), a youth drug-dealer who is the leader of a gang. Jake then proceeds to go up to the gang but Marcel asks Jake to beat up his friend, due to his appearance and unfamiliar status. Jake reluctantly beats him up – the gang go over and record the scene. Marcel watches from afar and invites the vulnerable Jake to join his gang. Their activities are recorded on a mobile phone such as partying and driving around. The gang enter an abandoned building where a man is tied up for not paying Marcel his drug money. The man is threatened and is released when his cousin delivers the money. "Playing with Fire" represents the story.
Kirby encounters Jody (Eloise Smyth) and Chanel (Clara Castaneda) at a café and tells Chanel that he can introduce her to his friend Nigel, who is part of a modelling agency. The gullible Chanel doesn't realise it is a lie, and so takes his number. Jody doesn't believe Kirby but decides to support Chanel anyway.
Ed and Aaron find Michelle (Anouska Mond), a prostitute who was sexually-abused as a child. She is accused of taking Ed's phone and attempts to find it. Michelle offers to go to fast-food shops where the employees pay £20 or less to have sex with her, while Ed keeps the money – represented by the song "Deepest Shame".
As Jake has now passed the initiation in proving his loyalty, Marcel manipulates him into killing Kirby to get revenge for Kirby forcing him to strip earlier. In the house, Jody and Chanel have arrived – Kirby promises that Nigel shall be arriving shortly.
Terry (Neil Large), a local resident who knows Kirby visits whilst the girls are there. Terry finds Ed's phone under Kirby's sofa and goes to return it, thinking Ed has his phone. Aaron feels sympathetic towards Michelle, as it is revealed that she never had the phone at all. However, when Terry turns up expecting his phone, Ed accuses of Michelle of taking Terry's phone and proceeds to beat her. Aaron is warned by Ed but he manages to take the money made from Michelle's prostitution and pays Terry to leave her alone. Aaron and Ed leave and watch from a distance as despite Aaron's kindness, Michelle continues with prostitution.
Meanwhile, Marcel and Jake are in the car outside Kirby's terrace house. He is told to take the gun from the glovebox (after much refusal) and go inside and kill Kirby. He then enters the room (wearing a balaclava) and shoots Kirby in the head, whilst accidentally murdering Chanel in the process, leaving a shocked Jody crying over the body. Chanel happens to be Chris's half-sister. Terry then returns finds the two dead bodies (Jody has left) and decides to take the bag of drugs that Kirby got off Chris.
Aaron is at the Earl of Essex pub and is interrogated by the landlord about selling drugs in the pub; as this happens, Chris enters the public toilets. The song "Pity the Plight" explains how Jody leads Chris to Terry's garage to gain information on the killer of his sister. Chris enters Marcel's residence with a gun who immediately tells Chris it was Jake who killed Chanel. Marcel sets Jake up to save himself. Chris and Marcel pick up Jake who sneaks out and a stand-off occurs with the three by a canal where Chris tells Jake to stab Marcel, revealing that Marcel set him up. Jake loses his temper and stabs Marcel, subsequently killing him, while Chris shoots Jake. The scene where Chris enters the pub bathroom is repeated, showing Chris hiding the gun in a bathroom cubicle water-tank after he flees from the murder scene. The following morning, Chris goes to retrieve the gun but it has already been taken.
The next story is introduced – the protagonist being Katya (Nathalie Press), a European immigrant who was raped by Vladimir (Mem Ferda), the owner of a whore house. She gave birth to a baby girl and finds it difficult to survive. The song "The Runaway" shows how Katya escapes the Russian whore house when the owner mixes vodka with heart pills and passes out. She then escapes with her baby into London. There she performs prostitution and steals food to survive. Her and Michelle meet and Michelle takes her under her wing. Meanwhile, the Russian gangsters are looking for her and Katya goes to the train station and while Aaron is alone on the train, the doors open and Katya leaves her baby in the buggy on the train, as she can see that the gangsters are about to catch her. Aaron bangs on the window in an attempt to gain Katya's attention. After his failed attempts to return the pram to the mother, Aaron hides his gun and drugs instead the pram and the baby's nappy, and walks past the police without any problems, he then takes it upon himself to look after the baby, even though he is mocked by Ed. He then looks after the baby at his flat, talking with Jody about what to do. The Russian gangsters take her whilst Michelle is distracted, but she sees them just in time and jumps in a cab which follows them back to the whore house. As Vladimir is beating Katya, Michelle sneaks up behind him with a brick and hits him on the head with it. The two women run back into the cab, and although Vladimir attempts to chase them, they get away.
Ed convinces Aaron to sell the baby to the owners of the Earl of Essex pub for £8000. Later, Katya and Michelle find Aaron who explains that he's given the baby away. Meanwhile, Ed is held at gunpoint by Chris who wants the gun back that Aaron has taken. Ed promises that he'll get it back within two hours. At the pub, the owners are reluctant to give away the baby and demand a full refund (not just Aaron's half of the money). The pub owner's wife learns that her husband slept with Michelle, and slaps her and the two begin to engage in a fight. Upstairs, Terry accidentally sets fire to the pub and falls unconscious. The baby is still upstairs crying. Katya goes after her child but passes out due to the smoke. Aaron goes upstairs and saves Katya, but leaves the gun upstairs. Ed goes up for the gun and the baby as the pub falls apart around him. He drops the baby out of the window for Aaron to catch below in front of a shocked audience. Aaron successfully catches the baby, and Ed tries to escape the smoke-filled room as the fire brigade arrive. He climbs out of the window but slips and kills himself.
Aaron returns the gun to Chris. He goes home and opens the letter from social services given to him at the start of the film. It's a letter from his mother, and he learns that he was abandoned for his own safety as a child. He then speaks with Jody about Ed's funeral, deciding to use Ed's £4000 from the baby money to go towards it. The members of Marcel's gang are shown next to some graffiti reading "RIP Marcel and little Jake". The boy Jake initially beat up is shown taking back his £20 off another boy. Chris and the other crack dealers are discovered and arrested by the police, intertwined with images of the Olympic Park, London. Jody beats up April, who tried to run off with the funeral money. The final scene shows Aaron being driven in a taxi. He glances in the rear-view mirror and Ben Drew himself is the driver.
Prior to writing the script for Ill Manors, when Drew was 21 years old, he had originally tried to begin production on another script he had written called Trigger, which was based on an incident where Drew's home was raided by armed police. However he was refused funding as he was an inexperienced director. To gain the necessary experience, Drew wrote and directed his own short film Michelle in 2008 which was financed by himself with £4000 from the remaining recording advance from his record label and an inheritance from his grandfather. The short film, which starred Anouska Mond, Ed Skrein and Adam Deacon, was released online and acted as a pilot for the feature film Ill Manors, which Drew had completed the script for within four months of making Michelle. Drew also directed the music video for "Pieces", his collaboration with Chase & Status, and also had roles in Adulthood (2008) and Harry Brown (2009). The script for Ill Manors was partly based on actual events and stories Drew heard when he was young, such as a woman prostituting herself in order to repay a drug dealer. The film had been in development for three years prior to filming, however Drew struggled to secure finance for his film. Ill Manors was greenlit for production in 2009 as part of the Film London Microwave scheme.
For the film, Drew hired a mixture of both experienced and inexperienced actors, whilst several cast members already knew the director personally before they were cast in their roles. Riz Ahmed, who had previously recorded "Shifty" with Plan B, asked to play the lead role of Aaron after reading the script. Ed Skrein was a childhood friend of Drew who had appeared in Michelle and had previously collaborated with him on numerous recordings. Keith Coggins is Drew's godfather and Anouska Mond, who had also previously appeared in Drew's short film was invited to audition for her previous role as Michelle. The main casting process for the film took place during August 2010 with several cast members being young unknown actors from the East End of London, such as Ryan De La Cruz who was discovered when the crew visited Rokeby School in Canning Town, London.
Principal photography began on 1 September 2010 at 3 Mills Studios, London and filming lasted for four weeks on location in London, England. Drew has named the 1996 film Pusher directed by Nicolas Winding Refn as a major influence on Ill Manors, as well as directors Shane Meadows and Quentin Tarantino. During production of the film, it was reported that the cast and crew ran into trouble with youths in Forest Gate, London and production was interrupted whilst a laptop containing the film's dailies had to be recovered after being stolen by a drug addict. Drew claimed that he faced prejudice from some crew members whilst on set, however he also noted that "there was some people that really believed in my vision and gave me all the support I needed."
Editing of the film began in December 2010, however post-production of the film was delayed due to Plan B performing on The Defamation of Strickland Banks Tour during 2010 and 2011. To raise funds for the completion of the film's post-production, the distribution rights to Ill Manors were sold to Revolver Entertainment in April 2011 and Plan B delayed the release date of his planned third studio album The Ballad of Belmarsh until after Ill Manors was released.
The trailer for Ill Manors was first aired on The Guardian's website on 3 May 2012, whilst the first film poster was first unveiled by Empire magazine's website on 8 May 2012. Digital Spy also unveiled two further promotional posters on 18 May and 7 June 2012. The première took place on 30 May 2012 at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square, London. This screening was also attended by several British recording artists such as Alesha Dixon, Alexandra Burke, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32, Example and Ed Sheeran. The film was given a wide release to 191 cinemas in both Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom by Revolver Entertainment on 6 June 2012. Ill Manors was released in the Netherlands on 30 August 2012 by Benelux Film Distributors and was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Festival do Rio in September 2012. Ill Manors was released on DVD on 8 October 2012, and contains footage that was not broadcast at cinemas.
On its opening weekend, the film placed at number nine at the UK Box Office, with a gross figure of £256,288. Domestically, the film has earned a total gross of £453,570, after eight weeks at the box office. Ill Manors has received largely positive reviews from critics and fans alike, with a current 80% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on twenty-five different reviews. The film received acclaim from fans on Amazon.co.uk, who as of March 2013 have the given film an average review of 4.5 out of 5 stars, claiming that despite the film's gritty nature, the story that it tells is impossible to avoid.
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- Gregory, Jason (22 March 2010). "Plan B to Direct Hip-Hop Musical Movie". Gigwise.com.
- "Nathan "Flutebox" Lee interview". contactmusic.com.
- Dingwall, John (4 April 2010). "I've ditched my hard-man image but I'll never compromise, says Ben Drew aka Plan B". Daily Record (Scotland).
- Cripps, Charlotte (25 January 2011). "Plan B: Smooth operator". The Independent (United Kingdom).
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- "Ill Manors". Film London Microwave. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
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- "BBC Films and Film London Extend Successful Microwave Partnership and Two New Features are Greenlit" (Press release). Film London. 14 May 2010.
- "Ill Manors: Ben Drew, Riz Ahmed and Anouska Mond". Empire Online. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Ill Manors Production Notes" (Press release). Revolver Entertainment. 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Shepherd, Fiona (18 August 2010). "Interview: Plan B". Edignburgh Festivals. UK: scotsman.com.
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- Sigel, Tego (9 September 2010). "Plan-B's Set For Directorial Debut Ill Manors". RWD Magazine.
- Eames, Tom (7 February 2012). "Plan B: 'Shane Meadows, Quentin Tarantino inspired film Ill Manors'". Digital Spy.
- "Plan B's New Film 'Ill Manors' Almost Stolen By Thieves". contactmusic.com. 31 May 2012.
- "Plan B admits there 'wasn't a good vibe' during early shooting of new film 'Ill Manors'". NME.com. IPC Media. 21 May 2012.
- Reynolds, Simon (10 January 2011). "Ben Drew chats BAFTAs, 'Ill Manors'". Digital Spy. UK.
- Copsey, Robert (19 October 2011). "Plan B's new album 'Ballad of Bellmarsh' delayed for film 'Ill Manors'". Digital Spy. UK.
- "Ill Manors secures distribution". Film London. UK. 27 April 2011.
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- Official website
- Film London Microwave site
- Ill Manors at allmovie
- Ill Manors at Box Office Mojo
- Ill Manors at the Internet Movie Database
- Ill Manors at Rotten Tomatoes