Rashid, a young man from a traditional Arab family, runs with a gang in Hackney, one of London's more volatile neighborhoods. Rashid's younger brother, Mo, idolizes his charismatic older brother and wants to follow in his footsteps, though Rashid envisions a better life for Mo. After one of Rashid's friends is killed in a gang dispute he begins to reevaluate his life, and with the help of Sayyid, a photography who came from a similar background, he gets his life headed in the direction. While Rashid's life is headed down the right path, Mo begins the gangster lifestyle, setting up a collision course between the two young men. Sally El Hosaini's My Brother The Devil is an impressive debut feature exploring two brothers whose lives are molded as much by the streets as their own parents. Early on the film does a great job at capturing Mo's romanticism about the street culture, mimicking his brother's actions and seeking out opportunities to help. The narrative unfolds in a pretty genius way, showing how Rashid and Mo's characters completely reverse trajectory, going towards the opposite paths from where they were at the beginning of the film. My Brother The Devil certainly believes in how ones environment can radically affect one's lifestyle and the journey of these two brothers is a genuine, raw testament to that fact. Rashid and Mo are men with tender hearts, stuck in a culture and environment that encourages toughness and lack of emotion. My only complaint about the film revolves around the revel that Rashid is a homosexual. I felt that it took away from the main narrative, almost unintentionally suggesting that Rashid's sexuality has something to do with his inability to cope with a life on the streets. I understand how Homosexuality is viewed as a huge weakness in gangster culture but I didn't really see how this served the major themes of the story. In the end, My Brother The Devil is a strong debut feature and I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for Sally El Hosaini's next feature.
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