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Hyena

* * - - -

Gala screening maintains a recent, though not all-encompassing, tradition at the EIFF of disappointing British fare.

Image of Hyena

Showing @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 18 Jun (ended)

Gerard Johnson / UK / 2014 / 112 mins

Gerard Johnson’s second directorial feature maintains a recent, though not all-encompassing, tradition at the EIFF of disappointing British fare. His grime-and-crime thriller sees bent London copper Michael Logan (Peter Ferdinando) ahead of the game in many respects, not least because of the numerous backhand bribes he pockets and frequent buzz he lives off from snorting coke, but the brains of his character. Yet when he clashes with two belligerent Albanian gangsters, his position at the head of the table starts to shift.

It’s without doubt that Johnson’s bias is towards the presentation and aesthetic of his violent thriller, attempting to debate the possibility of conquering moral decency amidst a network of corruption – but ultimately shying away from a genuine engagement in the potential for salvation. More unfortunate is that Hyena shows great promise with several restrained performances (led by Ferdinando) and immersive, cerulean cinematography, but as the violence escalates, it all gets senselessly out of hand. It’s as if the temptation to be visual and visceral slows the pulse of the story – and the film can only pin its hopes to a muscular electronic soundtrack which races us through.

Showing as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival