City of Tiny Lights: LFF Film Review 

I’m loving Riz Ahmed in The Night Of and I want to see him in more lead roles so I had to support his star turn in noir crime thriller City of Tiny Lights.

He plays private investigator Tommy Akhtar, who is approached one day by prostitute Melody (Cush Jumbo), whose friend Natasha has gone missing. Tommy goes to the last known place she was seen and comes across an unexpected murder scene and he starts snooping where he shouldn’t.

It is refreshing to see a grittier side of London with streets containing greasy spoons, taxi offices, mosques and pubs, for example. There are also plenty of characters you wouldn’t see in a Hollywood movie like his cricket loving father Farzad (Roshan Seth), who steals every scene, as does Tommy’s teenage informant who joins an Islamic Youth club to get information.

There is also a side plot about Tommy finding his old school crush (Billie Piper), whose reappearance bring up old, dark memories that may be connected to his current case. This was a subplot but I connected with it more and I was much more captivated by Ahmed and Piper’s brilliant performances in those scenes.

I didn’t follow the case fully to be honest but I can’t wholly blame the film. While the script didn’t spell everything out in an obvious way, my confusion was my own fault – it’s so easy to switch off when you are watching multiple films a day, especially ones as slow moving as this. I’m not saying I fell asleep but I certainly wasn’t as focused as I would have been if I’d seen it outside the festival. I still accurately guessed who the culprit was though.

Seen as part of the BFI London Film Festival. Due for U.K. release in April 2017. 

Ahmed also features in other LFF Film Una,

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