The first time I watched anything that director Mo Ali had done was four years ago with his feature debut ‘Shank’.
I thought I knew what to expect from the film but was surprised and I will be honest It did take me two attempts to really get into the world of ‘Shank’ with its new flashy visual style. Definately very different from everything I had become used to with UK films.
Set in the future, it held the values and storyline of a typical urban drama but also injected a very unique visual style to it. ‘Shank’ now proudly sits on my DVD collection and I have followed the career paths of many of its cast as they progressed into other films and television shows. I have seen the film a few times over the past couple of years. Very slick stuff
Getting a bit more into present day with the latest film by Mo Ali, which I first heard of in 2013. I thought Montana would be an urban drama with the similar style and feel of ‘Shank’ (which wouldn’t have been a bad thing, I happen to like the UK gritty dramas) but once again I was mistaken. Mo Ali once again fooled me and injected something new into the films he makes and the films I watch.
Montana takes us into the world of a teenage boy (called Montana) played brilliantly by McKell David, who has this film as his feature film debut, having previously appeared in a few TV episodes. (McKell has at least 3 feature films in various stages of production) and thats no shock. McKell is excellent in the title role of this film. No way would I think that this guy has only made a few small appearances. He shows total confidence on screen and in every aspect of his role as the teenager who goes from one scary world to another scary world.
So what is Montana actually about?
Well without delving into too many plot points (half the beauty is finding it out for yourself)
Imagine a UK gritty drama, being fused together with Luc Bessons Leon, with a few hints of Kick Ass (without the costumes). Oh and add to that the seriously slick and beautiful camera style of director Mo Ali,and that gives you an idea of the world of Montana. I have no idea what budget this film is but am willing to bet that its not as high budget as the film looks. With slick editing, a great video game style score, this film just oozes entertainment, Easily the sort of film that has ‘cult favourite’ graffiti written all over it. I can see me watching this film again in the next 24hrs just to take in even more detail than I took in the first time.
The film is hyper-kinetic, its slick, its beautiful, but most of all its fun.
With McKell David taking the title role, the rest of the cast is filled out with talent such as Ashley Walters (Top Boy, Bullet Boy), Adam Deacon (Anuvahood, Babylon), Michelle Fairley (24:Live Another Day), and Lars Mikkelsen (Headhunters, The Killing)
But hopefully the people behind the film wont mind me once again typing up the praise for McKell David as Montana. An actor definately worth keeping track of as he goes from strength to strength.
Definately check the film out. and do let me know what you think of it. Mo Ali is a name to keep an eye on and earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with the man himself where he talked about Montana and Shank a little bit more. A fun show which you can listen to HERE.
Montana is on DVD now