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The Independent Critic

Michael McKell, Ian Pirie, Emma Barton, Tom Carey, Kris Johnson, and Glen Fox
Peter Stylianou
90 Mins.
FilmWorks Entertainment

 "Who Needs Enemies" Released by FilmWorks Entertainment 
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Tom Sheridan (Ian Pirie) is a London gangster and ex-boxer who has agreed to hire out his strip club to lifelong friend and colleague Ian Levine (Michael McKell). Sheridan soon discovers that the private party in question will involve child prostitution, human trafficking, and otherwise catering to well-to-do pedophiles. Deeply offended and feeling betrayed, Sheridan obtains photo evidence of the party and threatens to expose Ian to his associates and family. This sparks a feud between the longtime friends and their various foot soldiers that won't easily be resolved.

There's nothing like a low-budget British gangster flick, and when you throw in a story this involving you know you're in for something rather promising. While Who Needs Enemies isn't without its flaws, writer/director Peter Stylianou has crafted a film that is both an entertaining action/thriller and a compelling and thought-provoking drama. The most involving crime thrillers are those that are able to somehow either create characters that draw you in or that tell a story that transcends the action.

Among the current wide screen releases, The Wolf of Wall Street is a terrific example of a film that tells what should be an obnoxious and offensive story yet does so in a way that keeps you watching, involved and even laughing.

While Who Needs Enemies isn't quite that successfully, there's no question that Stylianou is an imaginative and creative director who has a clear sense of how to tell a challenging story in a compelling way. It's an intriguing concept - what really is the "line" between living a life of crime and living a life that crosses that line of acceptability?

What's moral? What's immoral?

Who gets to determine it?

Who Needs Enemies will most likely have you thinking about these and other issues while being entertained by the film's action sequences and built-in congflicts. Co-leads Ian Pirie, a supporting player in such films as The Dark Knight and Gangs of New York, and Michael McKell serve up both a believable chemistry and believable conflicts as everything starts to fall apart.

D.P. Andre Govia also lenses the film beautifully and creates a film of atmospheric shadows and unsettling settings.

Who Needs Enemies has been picked up by indie distributor FilmWorks Entertainment with packaging that includes a bonus featurette, trailer, and photo gallery. Fans of the gangster sub-genre will find much to enjoy here and if you get a chance you'll definitely want to check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic