Writer and Co-Director Noel Clarke delivers up another teen drama with a gritty urban backdrop. 18.104.22.168 takes the some of the action transatlantic, however, and posits four female protagonists at the centre of the narrative.
22.214.171.124 tells the story of each of the four friends, after a chance encounter with a group of diamond thieves. Taking place over an eventful three days, each of the girls find themselves in unusual circumstances…
Noel Clarke probably sees his film as offering a positive depiction of four strong female characters. Whilst this is in part true, it is largely undermined by the voyeuristic views offered of these young ladies. So on the one hand they are portrayed as heroines of female empowerment, but on the other, they are attractive young females so they are shown parading around in skimpy underwear. Girl Power then, but only to a certain extent.
Barely any of the numerous side characters in this ensemble cast are depicted in a positive light. The message seems to be trust only your friends; a pessimistic but perhaps understandable proclamation in this day and age.
The varied cast comprises of British unknowns, more familiar faces from British television, and a handful of American stars; Emma Roberts, Eve and Kevin Smith, for example. Overall, the cast performs well, accurately conveying the authenticity of Clarke’s London-derived dialogue.
Location is a pretty important element of the film, and the production design and cinematography work well to offer gritty imagery of working-class London, a world away from the glitzy Times Square that is visited.
Clarke has done a good job in mixing the danger and energy of a crime caper with the angst of a teen drama. Whilst 126.96.36.199 is entertaining, it falls short in its contradictory depictions of the female leads.