Daily archives "June 19, 2014"

EIFF 2014: Hyena


Hyena: **
US/ Director Gerald Johnson/ 112mins


After the promising debut from Johnson with his serial killer drama, Tony, the director returns with a lacklustre run by the mill cop thriller.


The film follows the “hyena” in question, a scavenger and a corrupt cop Michael (Peter Ferdinando) who leads a special task-force that tackles London’s biggest drug traffickers. Michael turns a blind eye against the illegal activity of the Turkish and Albanian criminal community of the city, however the reappearance of an old colleague from his past threatens to expose he and his unit’s corruption.


The main problem with Hyena is that this story has been done several times before and with better results. Johnson has clearly been influenced by
Abel Ferrara’s classic Bad Lieutenant Nicholas Winding Refn’s Pusher.


The style and look is dark, gritty, bleak and murky with none of the characters involved being at all likeable. The filmmakers use the standard clichéd use of jump cuts, close ups and overused slow motion that has really been done to death in this genre, especially in UK crime thrillers. The script is predictable and has several plot holes within the story.


It is not all doom and gloom however. The acting saves the piece for being truly forgettable. Especially by The lead performer Tony’s Peter Ferdinando and the ever reliable Stephen Graham who appears to be wasted in an underdeveloped role as Michael’s superior officer.


While the soundtrack by 80’s electronic act The The works well with the disturbing images.


With murder, rape and dismemberment, Hyena is distinctly unpleasant to watch. The performances may lift the overall piece, but there is just nothing here that is particularly memorable.

By Paul Logan