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Drawn Out

average rating is 4 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Mar 18, 2024

Film Reviews
Drawn Out
Directed by:
Teddy Nygh
Written by:
Shazia Rashid
Jon Jon, Percelle Ascot, Ashley Walters

2018’s Drawn Out remains a powerful and moving drama about the cycle of gang violence that claims young lives across London – with its story of one fateful punch – and the vengeance, violence and fear it unleashes constructed from the real experiences and tragic incidents of the North London estate upon which it was filmed.


When Aaron (Jon Jon) and Jacob (Joshua Blissett) are chased by rival gang members through their North London estate, a punch thrown by Aaron in an attempt to get away leads to tragedy. He unintentionally kills Sean (Jordan Aloye), who is brother to the feared and psychotic Strapz (Percelle Ascot). As Strapz sets out for revenge, Aaron and Jacob hide out with Big Mo (Ashley Walters), but they know their actions will catch up with them eventually.


Drawn Out is a community-led film tinged with bittersweet authenticity. Watching the film knowing that it is inspired by an amalgamation of real experiences and events makes the consequences and collapse of multiple young lives in the film all the more heartbreaking. Aaron is a portrayed as a caring and thoughtful young man who makes a terrible choice that has shocking, uncontrolled consequences. His life quickly transforms from taking care of his brother and striking up romance with his girlfriend, to a desperate fight for survival. His association with gangs is his own costly decision, but his actions can also be construed as being forced by an undercurrent of violence within the community.


No greater example of this violence can be found than the terrifying Strapz – played by Percelle Ascot with exceptional menace. Strapz is driven by rightful anger at his brother’s death – yet his hypocrisy is clear to see as he takes sick pleasure wielding a gun, and striking down an underling in much the same fashion that costs his own brother his life. Strapz can be seen to be irredeemable by his later actions – but a poignant, wonderfully-staged scene in which he breaks down in his car shows he is a victim of the cycle too. The depth of the characters is a clear result of an innate understanding of the complexity around gang-life and inner-city crime on behalf of the filmmakers, who correctly identify that the system and the cycle are much more prominent problems than any individual.


Tension and fear are sewn throughout the storytelling. Director Teddy Nygh’s long, lingering and torturous patience during the opening chase sequence as Aaron and Jacob hide from their pursuers gives just a tease that things might end up ok – before life changes for everyone. Aaron’s desperation to evade Strapz as the walls close in become increasingly risky and frantic – and lead to further tragedy that Shazia Rashid’s script builds with devastating effectiveness. The violent, patriarchal culture comes to draw in everyone close to Aaron, and threatens to echo down generations. It’s only a brave decision to face the consequences that may help close the gap, and even then the film is careful to show that one action alone cannot fix everything – it takes a community effort.


Films like Drawn Out which are birthed from real community experiences are an invaluable artistic endeavour that capture the essence and realities of social issues like no other. Only by identifying the truth behind stories can tragedies be learned from – and this truth radiates throughout the narrative of this short. It’s a fantastic film, and one that is unfortunately still relevant today as it was in 2018.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film
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