Did I really attend the World Premiere of Hyena at the opening night gala of this year’s EIFF? I bought my ticket in good faith for the 21.05 screening as advertised in the programme but when I arrive there seemed to be a suited and booted and evening dressed audience just leaving who had already seen the ‘premiere’. When I made some enquiries it seemed that the tickets for the earlier performance were more expensive than the one I had purchased but included ‘a star studded party’ following their screening. I found this arrangement an elitist con, excluding the ordinary Festival goer from the real World Premiere leaves a bad taste!
Once the exclusive brethren had finally vacated the Festival Theatre we were allowed in to hear the EIFF Artistic director Chris Fujiwara introduce our screening with a few choice words like “dark and violent”, and how the film demonstrated an “an important truth” and that it was “rich and interesting” with the images and sound giving us “a filmic experience” or words to that effect. Other than dark and violent I would have to disagree Chris! Then we were introduced to the producers, Elizabeth Karisen, Joanna Laurie and Stephan Woolley who in turn brought to the stage a selection of the disinterested cast. Who, other than Stephan Graham, who opined quite loudly that the movie we were finally about to see was like “Batman on acid”, never said a word.
Hyena is a story about villains, villains who work for our police force and villains that import both women and drugs into the UK. As usual these days the drug dealers and sex traffickers are ‘nasty foreigners’ – Albanian and Turkish in this instance! Giving the British police establishment a very bad name is Michael Logan. Just one of four brutal members of a corrupt special Task Force supposedly assigned to bring down these ruthless gangsters that are threatening to change London’s criminal landscape and cut out the Task Force from a share of the sex trade and drug profits! Other strands in the narrative involve an internal investigation into Logan’s shenanigans and an old colleague arriving on the scene in the form of David Martin whom Logan has some history with.
|Stephan Woolley and his fellow producers.|
From the synopsis you could so easily have imagined this to have been a sharp, quick paced and exciting movie but its main problem was that we have seen it all before, the bent cop driven by drugs and alcohol, the brutality of women something that could not be hidden behind its so called ‘inventiveness’ i.e. its loud intrusive music and unclear dialog. A movie from the ‘slime pit’ genre, you know the sort of thing, you feel unclean after watching it. This grisly humourless film was not a good start to my EIFF 2014 experience; I suppose it can only get better?