Director: Louie Adams
Gangster movies belong to a genre that can be impressively diverse: expansive operatic epics discussion morality, pride and family or close-knit thrillers of one man trying to survive against the mob. Walking Home 6 is a behind-the-scenes gangster movie, with drug deals, murders and plots all discussed and planned over games of poker or in the backseat of a car. It's a resourceful way to tell a story of this nature when given a budget of almost nothing.
Director Louie Adams, who also stars and wrote the script with fellow lead Elliot Baker, is clearly a fan of #MartinScorsese and #QuentinTarantino and his films proudly show it. Fake trailers and retro intermission cartoons included in the main the feature, as well as a ‘70s soul and R'n'B soundtrack all smack of Tarantino. While murder and the growing unravelling of the lead characters as they navigate their world of violence and crime are clearly taken from the Scorsese school of screenwriting. This is a film made by film fans, in fact, the whole story feels like a collage of different scenes from previous movies.
However, it actually holds more in common with #BenWheatley's debut, Down Terrace. Most of Walking Home 6 is shot, on what looks like a phone, inside ordinary suburban houses in a very similar set up to Wheatley's film. Down Terrace is a tight and claustrophobic story of mounting tensions and cabin fever, told through dialogue while murder is planned over cups of tea. Walking Home 6 feels and looks like Wheatley's film but it wants to be something a lot bigger, and it just simply can't be.
The dialogue is not Tarantino and the camera work is not Scorsese, but no one expects it to be. But instead the camera remains still, occasionally roaming back and forth between whoever is speaking; if it misses something important then it's not a problem because the entirely improvised dialogue will narrate what's going on in the scene while the camera scurries into the right position. The dialogue in Down Terrace is also semi-improvised but while the actors are free to say whatever the director is constructing the world around them, always keeping a mind on the story and how the film is meant to make you feel. In this case the film relies entirely on its actors, who don't seem entirely confident about what's meant to be happening, to steer the entire ship.
The actors are clearly friends having a great time, and a good 20 years younger than the hardened criminals they're meant to be playing.
All of this is fine; films have asked us to believe more ridiculous things in the past. But what is a shame is that this one also asks us to believe that these boys are cut throat killers who control the entirety of the New Eltham Columbian cocaine scene. Again we can suspend our disbelief, but not passed the many, many accidental looks to camera and the constant covering up of smiles and giggles.
However, what is clear is that they're taking it seriously. The plot is nothing new, the dialogue is sometimes unclear and repetitive but all involved in this #gangsterfilm are in it to make a gangster film. It knows what it wants to be, it's really not close but it's a lot closer to something great than it realises.
It's quality aside the amount of care in the film is obvious and it should be remembered that some of cinema's greatest fans ended up being some of its greatest contributors, just ask Tarantino and Scorsese.