Film Review: The Rise

Sunday 16 August 2015 by

The Rise, Film, Film4, Matthew Lewis, Iwan Rheon, Gerard Kearns, Luke Treadaway

I can’t remember who recommended The Rise to me, but I was told that for an independent heist film, this was one of the best. It tells the story of Harvey (Luke Treadaway) and his three friends (Iwan Rheon, Matthew Lewis and Gerard Kearns) as he tries to get revenge on the local kingpin (played by Neil Maskell) for sending him to prison.

For a heist film it has all the necessary components – the mystery, the layers, the humour and the heist itself. No heist is complete without misdirection, and they do it well here.  Harvey has already been caught for the failed heist, and so the story unravels as he tells it to the police. But all is not quite as it seems, and as the story progresses we see it piece by piece.

There is a certain entertainment to these kind of films, and the four friends feel genuine as a group – they are the centrifugal force of a film that ultimately has an uncertain plot and not necessarily brilliant script. Lewis, Treadaway, Rheon and Kearns sparkle in this film with an authentic camaraderie. But this is not on the scale of Ocean’s Eleven or any of the great heist films that have entered legend. This is more a light-hearted foray. However, don’t go expecting that this is a laugh-out-loud romp, there are truly dark moments that send shivers down your spine. It is violent and aggressive, with only the humour between friends to lighten it.

There are some moments of humour, and the expected twist is delightfully unexpected, which makes a nice change. But it was an underwhelming outing in most other instances, unsure of itself to the point that it hesitated when it should have sprung forward.

I felt ambiguous about the film throughout – without engaging in the tension, but feeling connected to the characters. It strives for something bigger but ultimately falls at the last hurdle, offering a damp squib of an ending post-twist. An entertaining film but something that ultimately lacks in finesse.

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