Written and directed by Gerard Johnson
Available on DVD from Amazon
Michael Logan, a corrupt cop, finds his world crashing down when a Turkish drug trafficker he was doing business with is brutally murdered by a rival gang led by Albanian brothers, the Kabashi’s. With £100,000 of his own money plunged into a route that has now been stolen by the Albanians, Michael must attempt to work with the Kabashi brothers in order to reclaim his money. However, his role as an effective police officer jeopardises his shady dealings when he is transferred to another assignment alongside an old colleage and as Michael finds out, he can’t afford to ruin his relationship with the Kabashi brothers.
Gritty, stylish Brit thriller HYENA takes a realistic look at crime and corruption in the seedy underworld of the London crime circuit. Michael (Peter Ferdinando) is at the top of his game, busting locations for drugs and helping himself to the stock to both ingest it himself and to make money from it. He does this with the help of his unit consisting of fellow corrupt, coke head coppers Martin (Neil Maskell), Chris (Gordon Brown) and Keith (Tony Pitts). The friends act more like criminals than they do up police officers, bending the rules to serve their liking and to support their dodgy interests with gang members operating in London. When Michael gets involved with the Kabashi brothers, he treads a fine line between police officer and criminal as the brothers’ interests are not just with drugs but people trafficking too with a young woman named Ariana at the mercy of their powerful grip.
HYENA is such a powerful movie and is reinforced by its grisly, grotesque and gritty scenes. Victims of the Kabashi brothers are stabbed and hacked to death and director Gerard Johnson isn’t afraid of showing the grim, sickening reality of the brutality. It will both shock and repulse you but is needed to be seen to hit home the harsh reality of the scenario. This isn’t a game and the consequences are too real to comprehend. A scene in the second half of the movie sees a young woman sold for sex, with men quite happy to have their moment of pleasure with a drugged, unconscious trafficking victim. It’s upsetting to watch and although this is a film, things like this are happening as we speak so the movie does hit a raw nerve.
As I mentioned early on in the review, HYENA is quite a stylish movie with its use of neon colours such as in the opening drugs bust at the bar. However, it seems to save these slick, mesmerising moments for the ‘thrill’ activity between Michael and his colleagues who seem to be living in their own little bubble most of the time. When Michael is out on the streets getting mixed up with dangerous gangsters, the seedy underworld visuals couldn’t be more real.
HYENA boasts terrific performances from all involved with a spectacular performance from Peter Ferdinando as the lead, terrifying and intimidating debut performances from Orli Shuka and Gjevat Kelmendi as the Kobashi brothers and black humour from the amazing Tony Pitts as corrupt copper Keith. It’s also fantastic to see the inclusion of Stephen Graham who’s faultless as always as Michael’s old colleague David Knight. His scenes with Peter Ferdninado’s Michael really wrack up the tension.
HYENA is a fine display of British talent with a script that is raw and authentic and pulls no punches. There’s no glossy coating to the whole affair as the dire reality of Michael’s actions become painfully clear by the end of the movie.
Intense and shocking in equal measure, HYENA is one British thriller you’ve got to check out!