City Rats portrays city life in London, as you have never seen it before. The film takes on four narrative strings, looking at eight different characters and examining some very delicate subject matter. At first there is Pete (Danny Dyer), an ex-criminal drunken mess that goes on a journey of truth with Carol (Natasha Williams), a woman on the edge and the mother of an old friend of Pete’s who has disappeared. Together the look for the truth into the lad’s disappearance with to some devastating results.
Then there is Gina, a.k.a Penelope (Susan Lynch), a prostate who has a relationship with her artist neighbour Dean (Ray Panthaki) who asks her to be his muse, his inspiration in his art and poetry. Next we have Olly (Kenny Doughty) and his deaf autistic brother Chris (James Lance) who use the London night scene to develop and explore their sexualities. Lastly is Jim (Tamer Hassan) and Sammy (MyAnna Buring) both lost in life and link eyes across London’s rooftops when they debate over whether to jump; they look to each other as saviours. As you begin to piece the story into the four separate narratives, you find there is actually some crossovers; Jim is a client of Penelope’s, Dean and Olly went to school together and Pete is somehow involved in Olly and Chris’s family.
Once laid out straight in ones mind, you begin to realise how each story touches upon the London scene. There is some of the most beautiful of landscapes from London rooftops, especially in the opening scene involving the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Other scenes look at the dark side of London, such as the back streets, Soho and the clubbing scene. The way each of the scenes is filmed is remarkable. There are also some scenes, particularly the sequence of melons falling from the rooftops and Chris at Trafalgar Square with the pigeons that are memorable. City Rats deals with some delicate topics but does so carefully and creatively. It touches upon murder, drugs, suicide, disabilities, domestic violence, prostitution and homosexuality.
If you are looking for a film that is honest to its form then City Rats is it. Each word spoken is honest and the DVD features portray the cast in a similar fashion. If you are going to make a British film that portrays the London scene then you can’t get any better than having Danny Dyer; he is a true actor with all the Brit aspect you want and for his presence makes this an enjoyable watch.