Jules Akola (Mukesh Asopa), a newly appointed government official claims to halt rising underground street crime, namely drug lord Sydney Smalls (Peter Simmonds) and wingman Tio Spence (Jason Soule). Once Tio learns Smalls is playing favorites, he regretfully employs two petty criminals, Aaron (Dave Bath) and Moor (Khalid Klein) to investigate. Jules, now alleged of murder, is sought by the lovely Angie (Lee Sandford), a covert cop whose persuasive charm leads Prudence (Christine Saade), Jules’ fiancée, in the arms of Fischer (Voytek Skrzeta), a wayward clergyman who Jules inadvertently confides in.
Chambers Gate, directed by Charles Ross & Mukesh Asopa, is an ambitious and gritty crime drama that follows an array of intriguing characters through sprawling scenes and a twisted net of mystery. Featuring a big cast with fairly strong performances from all, this speedy feature film packs a punch; with various location shoots and character conflict. The story is a little loose in terms of structure, and the way it cuts from character to character as they unload lots of dialogue can be difficult to follow, but the performances just about hold it all together.
Ross and Asopa’s handling of violence is admirable; they restrain from showing the viewer too much and leave it more to the imagination. For example, one scene shows a woman held at gunpoint but we see it through her perspective, the gun pointed at us, which gives off a more visceral edge. There are other moments sprinkled in but for the most part, this is a crime film that focuses more on characters than the crime itself. It seems as if Asopa likes to present more emotional, more fleshed out personalities in his work, rather than spending too much time on anything outside the heads of his characters. Chambers Gate uses up a lot of its duration with actors like Sandford, Bath and Klein, which all deliver superb support for the leading performers. There are even a couple of humorous lines to lighten the mood and thankfully don’t feel out of place; tonally perfect.
Featuring a great original score by Gilbert Gabriel and decent camerawork which captures dialogue scenes very well, Chambers Gate is clearly carefully made; with a lot of care going into the writing of characters and their internal motives. The visual aspect of the film is perhaps more entertaining than the concept and execution, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The film focuses on crime and all the corruption and deceit that lies within the underworld, how it affects people and relationships. It can be overwhelming when it presents the audience with too many character threads at once, but ambition is appreciated and though not an amazing feat, what Chambers Gate offers up can be enjoyed.
Chambers Gate is an entertaining film, but it can be confusing and gives off a feeling of being submerged in storylines without much time to breathe. But above all else, it features great performances with brilliant camerawork and a solid music score.
Watch the trailer for Chambers Gate below.