Sugarhouse (2007) Poster

(2007)

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7/10
Gritty and realistic
slake0919 August 2007
Sugarhouse is the story of a middle class man trying to buy a firearm in the UK, and all the things that go wrong with that transaction, from the crackhead who is selling it to him, to the psychotic drug dealer who owns the gun, to the reasons he wants the gun in the first place.

This isn't a witty and convoluted Guy Ritchie gangster film, these characters are low-level criminals engaging in their day to day enterprises with the addition of a middle-class gun buyer throwing everything out of kilter.

Andy Serkis played the psychotic drug dealer with his usual flair, you could almost smell the rage he was putting off. The other actors did a fine job of representing their characters, production values were high, dialog was good.

This is an above average crime drama, with a lot of dialog and some action thrown in during the more intense moments. My American ear had some trouble with the accents, but in general it's easy to understand what's going on and why.
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6/10
Rather Good new Brit Film
BlackNarcissus4 March 2007
I got an invite to see a Preview screening of Sugarhouse Lane last Wednesday & it was a well attended affair in a Hotel screening Room.

The film is set in London, but not the tourist type London you'll have seen in most British Films. Thankfully there's no shot of 'The Gherkin' building which seems to have plagued all films set in London since around 2000.

Most of the action (if thats the right word) takes place in around a derelict warehouse in/or around a Council estate. D takes Tom to this place in order to do some business but has other plans. Unfortunately this is were the films Stage origins let it down because, the film becomes wordy & rather confined to this single location. The film is beautiful to look at, the DoP should be very proud of themselves. I saw the film in the company of a Film Director and that was a comment he agreed with. Look out for the final Crane shot at the end of the film which is just great..

As to the performances, there's a really great performance from Ashley Walters as D a Crack Addict/Hustler. IMHO it much more than the clichéd "Blackman Druggie" part British Black actors are asked to play. It's a really convincing turn as an addict up there with Willie Ross's Drunk Father in 'Rita, Sue and Bob Too' and Samuel L. Jackson's performance in 'Jungle Fever'. There's also a good performance from Andy Serkis as Hoodwink a Northern Irish hard man. Oh, look out for the girl who plays Hoodwinks girlfriend I think in the titles she's called 'Pregnant Girl'. She's in the film for no more than 5 - 6 minutes tops but there's something really striking about her.

I must admit I was expecting something different but that said, I was pleasantly surprised. The film is much better than say other films set in London with Urban theme's like 'Breaking and Entering'. A film well worth having a look at when or if it gets a UK Theatrical release.
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5/10
Coulda
DelBongo15 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
So, so tempting to paraphrase the legendary two-word review of Spinal Tap's "Shark Sandwich" here, but such an arch dismissal does something of a disservice to what could have been a strong, idiosyncratic movie.

Anyway, this half-baked bunch of Sh*thouse is actually one of the strongest post-Lock Stock crime capers yet, which is praise so faint that these very words are vanishing from my screen as I type them. Once you put aside the fact that the film's mere existence is thoroughly depressing (at this rate, that bone-chilling term 'post-Lock Stock' is going to outlive influenza) you are free to admire its considerable directorial panache, some large stretches of very strong writing, and, most graciously, the way that it goes out of its way to discern itself from its infantile genre brethren.

It is an odd and very stagey three-hand chamber piece, featuring lead characters whose dynamic fundamentally doesn't make any sense. A sketchy, homeless crackhead (Walters, way, way OTT) lures a dead-eyed businessman (the ever tedious Steven Macintosh) to an abandoned warehouse in central London (which, rather helpfully, has running water and electricity) in order to sell him a stolen handgun. A deranged, skin-headed drug dealer (Serkis, in a performance clearly discernible from outer space) enters the mix shortly afterwards, after discovering that the weapon in question is the very same one that had been pinched from his bathroom the night before.

After a gripping opening, this very early instant is precisely where logic runs and hurls itself out of the nearest window. This is one of those movies that simply wouldn't exist without its main character's constantly inane and illogical behaviour. The calamitous trio's entire encounter is one gigantic assemblage of excellent reasons for each of them to leave the warehouse and never return, but none of them choose to. The tables are turned frequently but to no dramatic avail; in one scene, Walters plans to shoot Macintosh and run away with his money, and in the next he's cowering, gun in hand, in a toilet cubicle whilst Macintoff struts around on the other side of it cursing noisily. And as for the resilient, smirking bond that suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) forms between them in the finale? I've seen richer and more plausible moments of emotional heft in the Naked Gun flicks.

Although large chunks of the dialogue are authentic and peppy, playwright Dominic Leyton often tries to invoke profundity and gravitas via some very silly shortcuts. The most extraordinary example of this involves Walters having a very brief, tearful rant about the intricacies of the British class system, which manages to single-handedly convince our businessmen friend not to buy the gun from him at all. Why? Because guns is bad, blud. Its a scene so misjudged and absurd that you can't help feeling terribly sorry for the actors, who all rather admirably treat the material like Chekov.

These characters are all utterly shameless archetypes (Serkis is a volatile psychopath that dotes on his family; Macintosh the privileged white wimp, in over his head; and Walters' brash demeanor masks, quelle surprise, a heart of purest gold) but the whole notion of having actual characters in a film of this type, routine or not, is something of a novelty.

So yes, this is basically yet another shallow, stupid mockney slap 'em up. But despite the relentless implausibility of it all, if it had just relinquished the pretentious and simplistic posturing, it'd be easily recommendable to fans of this sort of thing as a lazy Sunday afternoon rental.

It is, at least, stylish and occasionally interesting.
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7/10
Performances
londonorange20 August 2007
The one thing you can say about this film was that the performances were all spot on...The cinematography was great as well. Also worth noticing that despite the mileu they didn't over-egg it with some crazy Gangsta Rap soundtrack. The screenplay could have been a bit better and sometimes you felt the same ground was being covered in dialogue. Sometimes motivation was questionable - but perhaps this was the point - these people were not exactly -stable....I believe it was adapted from a play & there were some good moments of humour - so all in all a good British film...although quite a hard film to watch & like - all the swearing & seediness...so definitely not one of the Merchant Ivory school.
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8/10
A Good British Crime Thriller
jfcthejock1 March 2008
Sugarhouse is something that has been done in the past quite a lot in British cinema with the likes of Bullet Boy and Kidulthood, a film centred around the raw realities of life and of course crime. There isn't really anything new with Sugarhouse, but what it does do is revitalise classics like those above and give you a more up to date adaption.

This adaption in question includes the talents of Steven Mackintosh and Andy Serkis, both well known British actors along with new British talent Ashley D. Sugarhouse is dark, compromising and of course brings up questions about morality and human nature. Violent at times but of course this is what makes this specific genre so appealing and riveting! I'd recommend this film to fans of either Rollin' With The Nines or Kidulthood.
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3/10
a poor version of a great play...
johnleyton-16 January 2008
Having seen the play Collision at The Old Red Lion some years ago I was interested and exited to see this film version of one of the best contemporary bits of theatre I have seen in recent years. Where the play was taut, tense, real, funny and ultimately moving the film is flabby, hard to follow and ultimately unbelievable.

The film never makes its mind up if it is a serious drama or an urban caper. Consequently it feels unbalanced. The performances echo this; ranging from 'real' to totally cartoon like. Somehow the simple plot ends up being hard to follow and the tension of the three way confrontation is totally lost.

The play made you laugh but at the same time kept you on the edge of your seat - however the film has no humour at all. Where did all that wonderful, very funny and also poignant dialogue between the crack head and the middle class character that was in the play go to?

Perhaps in the hands of a Ken Loach this film would have worked better than it does. As it stands it feels like a total let down of what it could have been.

What a shame.
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10/10
Sugarhouse is sweet as.
mgmc13 August 2007
I saw this at a preview screening... it was a great atmosphere! Ashley Walters really impresses, are those really his teeth? He looks like he's been living in a sewer for a couple of years! He's trying to sell this gun to middle-class Steve Mackintosh, who has found himself for the first time on the wrong side of town as Walters takes him to his home- an abandoned old warehouse. Andy Serkis plays Hoodwink, who's this bloomin scary Ulster man who's somehow found himself on the local estate with his pregnant girlfriend and now runs it, oh and he's the original owner of this gun and he's not too happy that it's gone missing!

A special mention i think should go to Hoodwink's three henchmen/stooges. They haven't had much of a chance of being mentioned in the build-up to this film, especially when you have Walters, Mackintosh and Serkis starring, but as you will see they turn in really good performances that added to the film no end.

This is a side of the capital that is hardly ever shown in films and it was interesting to see, definitely an intention of the makers to juxtapose this ragged side of London with the brand spanking new (one shot pans up from the estate to a view of Canary Wharf that's just right next to it). The film's also quite bloody, but also had the audience roaring with laughter at some points! The characters were very well constructed and there are very good free-flowing performances by all the actors (director was previously an actor as well i think, so just let them get on with it)... well worth going to see.
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1/10
Unbelievable Rubbish
spam-19306 September 2007
I watched this movie after reading some of the positive IMDb reviews and cannot help but wonder whether or not I saw the same movie. Maybe there is a parallel universe in which this movie has a different plot and doesn't suck.

I have no problem with the fact that this movie is almost entirely set in one location. I thought most of the actors did their part in trying to make this movie work with some great performances, most notably those of Steven Mackintosh (Tom), Ashley Walters (D) and Andy Serkis (Hoodwink). But despite their valiant efforts and the fact that the movie is beautifully shot, the appallingly unrealistic plot dragged this whole movie down into the gutter.

I felt compelled to write this review to save you wasting an hour and a half of your life watching this movie like I did. I feel robbed and want my time back.
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3/10
Not very good really is it.
opiumwillow13 September 2007
Filmed on a relative microbudget, I was surprised this film was chosen by Slingshot as their first project, as the script really doesn't hold water and some clumsy dialogue really grates on the nerves.

As far as British films go I suppose it could have been a lot worse, and while I really didn't enjoy it the performances pull it through, right before it gets plain silly. In terms of the negative feedback that it's racked up here, most I agree with, however complaining that this film is awful because it's "like watching a play" is one of the most idiotic comments I've ever read, you're really telling us more about yourself then the film! It was based on a play which is usually no bad thing (have a look at The Big Kahuna for a good example of a one-set movie)
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10/10
Best brit flick since 'Lock,Stock..Best urban since 'Trainspotting'
ezdude401 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
best drugs movie since train spotting and best British since lock,stock. hard hitting gritty and shows life in urban Britain as real as it can be. People will watch this and see how the 'other half' live and that although we are a culture that is hard and unforgiving, we can allow for the man not use to the ways we have to live. I identified with Dee, he had nothing and knew that he had nothing. no prospects no money no house no reputation and in that environment thats makes just existing almost imposable and with a habit as well life expectancy will be low. Tom and Dee eventually find their common ground and the fact that no matter 'rich man' or crack head a broken heart and a gun is a dangerous combination. loved it great film
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8/10
Believable
SupeRed0914 March 2010
Sugarhouse is a gritty UK crime thriller set in a very deprived area of London. The plot is based on a middle class man who quickly becomes out of his depth when he tries to buy a gun off a local crack cocaine addict.

The actors were extremely well cast with all the characters putting in very believable performances from start to finish. D who is the crack addict owes the local drug dealer a significant amount of money so decides to try and earn the money, by selling the dealers own gun which he has stolen, to a business type white guy who he constantly refers to as "rich man". The dealer is a heavily tattooed well built man with a history of violence and a Northern Irish accent, which adds another level of menace to his already intimidating presence. Naturally he is non too impressed when he finds his weapon missing and sets out to retrieve it.

The tense drama unfolds in a very believable and realistic manner and any worries I had of a weak or overly soppy ending were happily unfounded. A very enjoyable watch from the very first minute with a level of grit and reality the Hollywood studios with the big name stars so often struggle to achieve.
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Boring low budget derivative horsecrap.This is like watching a play.
dilbertsuperman5 September 2007
There are no scenes in this movie- just mainly ONE SET of a warehouse area. That right away tells you this movie has no budget, and a variety of other moments show you this is a shoe-string budget affair and the storytelling suffers as a result.

This is the story of a man who meets up with a Jamaican crackhead to try and buy something. Unfortunately several other people want to have that something as well and then the conflict begins. The man's unbelievable continual participation in these follies is supposed to be a sign that he is a man on the edge but it is more of a sign that this plot is unrealistic and idiotic to boot. Anyone else would just turn heel and go home- take their business elsewhere.

At various moments during the movie you will be wondering why the man doesn't just go home and cut his losses- this is the failure of the plot. If it was any good we wouldn't be continually groaning - oh god.. just GO HOME! The movie seems like it has some sort of retarded message about how revenge just injures yourself and they are willing to bend the plot in unrealistic directions to try and get that point across.

Extremely unsatisfying and not on par with Snatch, Lock stock and two Smoking barrels or trainspotting- don't let anyone fool you into thinking this play on film is worth seeing- it's a piece of boring one-set crap.
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8/10
Abandon hope all ye who enter here
dunfincin16 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I think this film deserves all the credit it seems to be getting.Well-written, superbly directed and very well acted by all.I was particularly impressed by the three leading actors, Steven Macintosh, Ashley Walters and Andy Serkis who was absolutely terrifying as the psychotic, machete-wielding,ultra violent thug. Set in what is called in the UK a "sink estate" i.e a social housing estate where crime and violence abound, the film accurately depicts the ethos which prevails there.For many people illegal drugs are a way of life, either buying, selling or stealing them and violence within and outside the family is the accepted norm.Police officers are not allowed on these estates on foot and often any response by the police will consist of not less that two patrol cars.I remember that as a naive young lawyer I had to go to one such estate to interview a man who had been involved in a motor accident.When I left his house, my car was surrounded by a group of about twenty youths all carrying bottles, knives and wooden clubs.They thought I might be a "copper" - a policeman.Not a happy memory. So, well done to all involved in making this realistic, gripping and ultimately very sad film.Definitely not for the faint hearted.Don't take your mum.
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9/10
Serkis the Berzickis
bertodecordoba24 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had one of the most brilliant performances I have ever seen by Ashley Walters. Walters gives an amazing portrayal of the conniving and mendacious living that many crack addicts live. Crack is one the most popular and dangerous drugs in society. I think it it is good for people to know the menace that drugs can be to our ill-equipped minds. We were all born with a perfectly insane mind to begin with. Just add crack and BOOM your Walter's character in no time. SPOILER Chippin away in an old broke section of the projects waiting for some dumb punters to show up so that he can lie, cheat, and steal from them. Anything it takes. Even stealing Lahood's gun. Now that is crazy..

My mate, SPOILER "LaHood" (Serkis the Berzerkis), went so Richter in his character. He's an animal I tell ya. His little Buddhist prayer can't help him are you kidding. He's off the handle. Well done mate. I am looking forward to many returns from our fine actor who played Gollum's movement and voice. SPOILER Makintosh was pretty damn good as a * as usual. He beats the hell out this stinky * bathroom with a pipe ripped from the wall and scares Mr Crack pretty good. that was pretty nice, yeah. One of my favorite scenes was where Serkis (Gollum from LOR) is snorting some yea and the Techno was playing, he was rocking out with his * out.. Great * scene there Mate.

Then after all of the tension and lots of scenes, two worlds come together and they find out that they are not that different from each other. They both have the ability to love. But somebody has to die.

I'll watch it again.
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5/10
Another side to Andy Serkis
tim-764-29185611 June 2012
Sugarhouse is an uncomfortable watch, with painful, often ugly violence and dialogue that is more often than not shouted. It turns to become, mainly a two-man show with white middle-class, jacket-wearing Steven Mackintosh who ventures into ghetto-land somewhere in decaying urban London to buy back a gun used in a murder and black, crack-addict Ashley Walters.

Being far nearer in real life to Mackintosh than Walters (by a far margin!) it wouldn't be right for me, myself to say how realistic the dialogue is, or the scenarios. So, I'm not going to try and pretend to say things like it's 'hip' or 'savvy', but looks and sounds really not very nice.

Walters, plus his chums generally give Mackintosh a hard time, over how a privileged a life he has and much angst and verbal ricocheting carries on. When director Gary Love's camera swings back and forth to them, it's an odd duet experience, so chalk and cheese.

Andy Serkis has been accused of overacting in Sugarhouse and we certainly get our money's worth from his psychopathic drug-dealer character. We see him at the start, nude, stretching his muscles and revealing his many tattoos. More revealing than is necessary, some critics have said, but it gives us a very clear indication that here we have a shaven-head bully more akin the Hannibal Lecter than Peter Pan.

As such, as Hoodwink, he is the colour and propulsion in this film. It would be quite dreary without him and who's to say what is over-the-top? It's of a type of person that thankfully I don't know and hopefully never will. His Irish accent seems pretty good too.

The film certainly came under my radar and watching it on BBC2 now, I was surprised that it was made 5 years ago and I'd never heard of it or referred to.
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8/10
Excellent
MisterSaxon22 August 2009
British crime movies are hardly a rarity in this day and age, but "Sugarhouse" stands head and shoulders above 95% of the other releases in the genre. On the surface, it's a remarkably simple movie about two troubled men and the problems that arise when one tries to sell a gun to the other.

Both Stephen Mackintosh and Ashley Walters deliver incredible performances as the two men, and are supported by an equally impressive offering by Andy Serkis as 'Hoodwink', the local drug-lord who was the original owner of the stolen weapon. Serkis oozes menace whenever he's on-screen, and his sudden bursts of violence are frightening to behold.

The writer deserves an equal share of the credit. I've lived in London for several years and can confirm that the terms and slang used by the characters are authentic. Secondly, the story is well written and keeps the interest throughout; a palpable feeling of tension and dread growing as the situation grows steadily worse. If there's any complaint to be made, it's most likely that the story could have found a more comfortable place on the stage than the screen due to the minimal number of locations used (most of the action takes place within one warehouse) and the long (but always interesting) conversations between characters.

I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy watching "Sugarhouse" due to my overexposure to British crime movies, but i'm glad that I did. It was one of the better movies I've seen recently and surprised me in how well-made it was. Long after the eerie final scene, i find myself thinking back to those two broken men who met at a crucial point in both of their lives and subsequently changed each other - for better or for worse.

If you're a fan of serious crime movies such as "Reservoir Dogs" of "The Long Good Friday", it would be well worth your time to take a look at "Sugarhouse".
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5/10
This didn't click with me
dbborroughs1 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Accountant tries to locate a gun in one of the less picturesque parts of London. He meets up with a drug addict who offers to help him out. Unfortunately for all concerned the gun he wants to sell is actually the property of a well tattooed and very crazed drug dealer. From that point things rapidly spiral out of control for all concerned and nothing goes right. Unremarkable drama feels at times as if it would be better suited for the stage where the rawness would over whelm the staginess of it all. Helping things along is the rapid discovery that nothing is as it seems and a good performance by Andy Serkis. (I really like Serkis but I'm rapidly coming to the opinion that he is either a one note actor, or he has to do something to get himself better roles since almost every one he's taken is a psycho.)
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