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Genre Crime

Rose is a harrowing and gritty crime drama based on the true story of one woman's fight to save her daughter's life and her own. Set in the fictional city area of Hellville, the story unfolds as we're introduced to Rose, a prostitute whose decision to defy her pimp, Blondie, lands her in a world of pain and trouble. As she tries to protect her daughter from the scum of Hellville, she finds herself at the centre of a spiraling situation as Blondie exerts his calloused control over the neighborhood.

Director Kemal Yildirim takes us on a visceral, often bleak and heartbreaking journey into the criminal underground. While the film borders on exploitation at times, the cinematography, performances and overall composition of the film often intersect in moments of brilliance.

While the film is called Rose, it could have just as easily been named after Blondie, the villain a the heart of this dark, often disturbing crime drama. While Mike Mitchell doesn't quite get a hold of some of the lines, his performance is in another league, stealing scenes much like the bully he plays. He's a monster in a suit, seemingly impervious to attacks and the leather-faced king of the lawless Hellville.

While Mitchell is the pick of the actors, you can't fault Helen Clifford's commitment to character as the rag doll, Rose. She's oppressed and conveys the weight of her world with an emptiness you'd expect to find from a sex worker. Patrick Regis is a handsome man, playing the most likable character, Tony. He's in great shape, as the selfless street fighter and "Good Samaritan" and delivers a consistent and sincere performance echoing Rust and Bone.

Rose, the film, has been given a minimalist treatment. The script is sparse, allowing Yildirim to do most of the storytelling through powerful visuals and drama. This is an independent film, which makes full use of its cast and locations, yet it seems disadvantaged in the sound department. At times, the soundtrack's dramatic shifts in atmospheric noise become a distraction and probably could have benefited from dubbing.

Then, there are other moments when the handheld shooting just seems rushed and shaky. These technical issues are jarring, making the low budget production seem a bit too ambitious. There also seems to be a lot of post-production salvage work with voice-overs and montages that probably could have used some more purposeful dialogue. The trip to Turkey seems like a tangent to Hellville, somewhat unnecessary and simply there to lift the production value.

These technical drawbacks stunt the film's foundations, but are mostly redeemed by Yildirim's vision for the project, taking it to so very real and dark places with a flair for the cinematic. The cinematography is always fascinating, the performances (especially Mitchell's) keep us locked into the world of Hellville and there's an ever-present air of unpredictability and danger.

Rose is the kind of gritty crime drama you would want to see remade on a broader budget. This is a promising production, which has been made with a fearless attitude, lifting the carpet on the UK's underground in a similar way to Ill Manors. With a little spit and polish, it could be the nuggety character-driven crime drama it deserves to be.

The bottom line: Promising

7.50/10 ( 2 Votes )
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