Often the most enjoyable films are the surprises - the ones that arrive with no fanfare, no big cast and, in this case, no budget. Well, nearly no budget. Shot for just £100,000, writer-director Eran Creevy's feature debut is a stylish and affecting look at male friendship and untapped potential.
Having left his Essex hometown four years earlier for a more normal life in Manchester, Chris (Mays) returns to visit Shifty (Ahmed), his best friend. Back in the day the duo sold pills to locals and clubbers, but while Chris wised up, Shifty became more involved in the game - 'graduating' to cocaine dealing, £3000-a-week profits and a gun in his bedroom. Past events mean that the relationship between them is strained, and when Chris reveals the reason for his return, Shifty realises that he's reached the crossroads in his life.
Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more of Creevy's work in cinemas in the years to come, because the qualities he displays here through characters, dialogue and performances are very special. Taking place over a 24-hour period, 'Shifty' fuses the day-in-the-life and race-against-time storylines to great effect. It's funny, poignant and tense and anyone who's a fan of 'The Wire' will find the lives of those onscreen in these suburbs just as compelling as the ones on the corner. With excellent timing and chemistry, Mays and Ahmed capture the deep love and unspoken hurt that can run through a friendship - each man wanting more for the other than he does for himself.
You'll want the best for both of them.