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UK: Verve Pictures
Cast: Ashley Walters, Luke Fraser, Leon Black, Claire Perkins, Curtis Howard, Louise Delamere, Sharea-mounira Samuels
Director: Saul Dibb
UK: 89 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and sex and moderate violence
UK Release Date: 8 April 2005
BULLET BOY is the feature debut of acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Saul Dibb, starring Ashley Walters (STORM DAMAGE), Luke Fraser, Clare Perkins (LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD and SECRETS AND LIES) and Leon Black (FACE, CLOCKWORK MICE and SHOPPING). Written by Saul Dibb and Catherine R Johnson and produced by Marc Boothe and Ruth Caleb, BULLET BOY was funded by BBC Films and the UK Film Council New Cinema Fund.
BULLET BOY is a story of two brothers - 12 year-old Curtis and 19 year-old Ricky. Fresh out of youth custody, Ricky (Ashley Walters) is trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but on returning home finds himself caught in a street clash. What begins as a minor confrontation quickly escalates into a series of retaliations that spiral out of control with devastating consequences. As Ricky sacrifices family and a new start in the name of loyalty, it seems only a matter of time before na´ve Curtis (Luke Fraser) - in thrall to the allure of his older brother - will be drawn into the cycle of violence. And yet all it takes is one person with courage to break a fatal chain of events.
BULLET BOY tells the story of two brothers growing up in one of London's most volatile neighbourhoods, where a minor street clash escalates into a cycle of violence that has tragic repercussions. A powerful and moving tale of young men on the edge, it reflects an emerging modern reality within Britain's inner cities.
The film explores themes of friendship, rivalry and revenge amid a generation of boys to whom guns have become a fact of life. When 18 year-old Ricky is released from a Youth Offenders Institute he desperately wants to avoid falling back into his criminal past. However, his claustrophobic world and the huge pressure to conform proves inescapable. Ricky almost immediately gets caught up in a road rage incident involving his best friend, Wisdom, and a local rival - all for the sake of a broken wing-mirror.
This minor confrontation quickly develops into a series of tit for tat reprisals that spiral out of control. Ricky's 12 year-old brother Curtis is battling his own pressures and is caught between this world and his mum Beverly's competing aspirations for him. Ricky is at a turning point - his mum and girlfriend Shea are struggling to help him stay out of trouble but he owes a debt of allegiance to Wisdom who has already crossed that line. It seems inevitable Ricky will be dragged down with him, but it's also only a matter of time before Curtis - in thrall to the allure of his older brother - will be drawn in too.
BULLET BOY inhabits a volatile world where friendships and loyalty are tested to the extreme, the interchange of fate and circumstance seems as casual as a coin toss, and the slightest flare of emotions can set off a devastating ripple of events. The film takes these two boys, their friends, families and enemies through a heady and emotional three days as one gun changes hands leaving in its wake a trail of destruction.
The director, Saul Dibb has worked primarily as an award-winning and controversial documentary filmmaker. His many projects include the BBC2 series about shoplifters, LIFTERS, life on the streets of inner city London, Electric Avenue and the notorious Tottenham Ayatollah about a British Islamic fundamentalist both for Channel Four. He also directed the short dramatic film Payday, for the UK Film Council Short Channel Award. In BULLET BOY Saul brings his documentary influences to the big screen with hard hitting yet delicately handled dramatic effect.
Ashley Walters in his first feature film lead role is better known as Asher D, part of the popular UK music act So Solid Crew. Walters was chosen by the filmmakers following his incredible performance in the BBC Drama (STORM DAMAGE) where he earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of a troubled teen. Walters partly credits his past experiences for giving him the maturity and the depth of perspective needed to embody Ricky.
The original score was composed by Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack and Neil Davidge producer of Massive Attack's last two albums. This is the first time they have collaborated on a British film.