Organisers of the British Urban Film Festival have confirmed that the hit stageplay-turned-box office movie Sus will be the opening feature film for its’ annual showpiece later this summer. It marks the second year in succession that actor Clint Dyer has featured at the event having starred in the Channel 4 documentary ‘Rappin at The Royal’ which showed at the 2009 British Urban Film Festival. At a time where films like Avatar cost the same as a small country’s GDP, SUS rebuffs (pardon the pun) the mutli-million pound approach to movie-making with a sense of vigour, verve, intensity and a mission to ‘make some noise’.
SUS takes place in 1979 and uses the historic elections that saw Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives in power for the first time as the back story to explore the contentious SUS laws at the time. SUS laws allowed police to stop and search people on mere suspicion and the controversy came from the fact that blacks were disproportionally stopped more.
For our man Delroy (played with some passion by Clint Dyer) the consequences of getting caught up in the system, on this night of all nights, become all too apparent as he comes face to face with Detectives Karn and Wilby played respectively by Ralph Brown and Rafe Spall (son of actor Timothy). Suspected of murdering his pregnant wife, Delroy is taken into the police station to witness not just institutional racism at work but evidently the social racism prevalent in Britain at the time, where being black was in some respects a hazard.
SUS 2010 has made the effortless transition to screen from the original stageplay of 1979 (based on a true story) by Barry Keefe and it is that essence of the theatre that not only comes through in the film but what ultimately defines the film. Filmed in a police cell, the undoubted sense of claustrophobia allows the audience to buy into the pain, fear and confusion that Delroy feels as he is interrogated, abused, and ultimately physically attacked.
Brown and Spall are deliciously bad as they continually up the ante in trying to extract a confession from Delroy who is still in a state of shock. At times the intensity reaches breaking point as the three actors deliver a triumvirate of top notch acting. Having been released nationally the day after the general election, this is a film that warrants attention demonstrating that cinema can be impressive without the massive budgets. Furthermore, with three actors on their game, and the film already playing to capacity audiences in the West End and across London, SUS is raw, timely, dynamic and a legitimate candidate for best British Film of the year.