220.127.116.11 doesn’t do itself any favours with the way it, almost from the very beginning, puts itself up for comparison with great movies like Pulp Fiction and Go. Thankfully, the movie does well enough to sit comfortably in such esteemed company and provides a lot of great entertainment from start to finish with an excellent ensemble cast all getting at least one great moment apiece.
The plot revolves around some stolen diamonds. Unwittingly, four young women (played by Emma Roberts, Ophelia Lovibond, Shanika Warren-Markland and Tamsin Egerton) find themselves involved in the middle of the dodgy dealing while also trying to fix a number of personal problems. Events are shown as they unfold for each character, interconnecting briefly during phone calls or brief moments passing each other by, and so we see a quartet go off on four different journeys to, hopefully, reunite as a healthy and alive quartet once more by the time the end credits roll.
Written by Noel Clarke (who, alongside Mark Davis, also directed), the most impressive thing about 18.104.22.168 is the way it sets out to simply entertain. It features four great young actresses in the lead roles but it never feels like it’s aiming just towards a female demographic, even while the women deal with some problems that only affect women in certain ways (be it concern about losing virginity, a sudden menstrual flow, potential date rape or just trying to enjoy life as a happy, carefree lesbian). When things start to get a bit crazier and a bit more tense it then starts to make all the different that the leads are all female. We’ve seen this stuff numerous times before. The gender makes for a refreshing change, covering the potential staleness of the situations.
Noel Clarke is a good writer but, perhaps equally important, he’s also a good actor who recognises other good actors. These folk get to work with his material and everyone comes out of the experience looking pretty good. Ophelia Lovibond and Tamsin Egerton deal with a few of the more emotional moments but Emma Roberts does very well and Shanika Warren-Markland really improves after a clumsy start for her character that goes too far to show just what a toughie she is. Clarke also gets himself onscreen and he’s brilliant. Linzey Cocker, Gregg Chillin, Susannah Fielding, Sean Pertwee, Kate Magowan and a lot of other familiar faces play friends and family members and all do excellent work. Michelle Ryan may not have a lot of screentime but she plays her character well and I hope she gets more movie work in the future. And then we have an unnecessary, but very enjoyable, cameo for Kevin Smith. It might not really add anything but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality either.
It’s energetic, cool, funny, sexy, tough and almost as smart as it wants to be. Which makes it a success, though many people may just dismiss it as a Go-wannabe, which would be a shame.
DIRECTOR: NOEL CLARKE, MARK DAVIS
WRITER: NOEL CLARKE
STARS: EMMA ROBERTS, OPHELIA LOVIBOND, SHANIKA WARREN-MARKLAND, TAMSIN EGERTON, NOEL CLARKE, LINZEY COCKER, GREGG CHILLIN, MICHELLE RYAN, SUSANNAH FIELDING, KEVIN SMITH
RUNTIME: 117 MINS APPROX