Director: Gerard Johnson
Screenplay: Gerard Johnson
Starring: Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, MyAnna Buring, Elisa Lasowski
Country: United Kingdom
Running time: 112 minutes
BBFC Certificate: 18
Hyena is a gritty action drama set in London. The central character is a corrupt police detective named Michael Logan, played by Peter Ferdinando. The premise, or at least the central question of the film could be, does the end justify the means?
Ferdinando manages to convey amorality and corruption, but informed by a warped sense of justice and doing the right thing. The film contains some standard characterisations, perhaps harking back to the classic British crime dramas; night clubs, brutal violence, gun toting, punch ups, strippers, hard boozing and hard drugs. Michael leads a team of wayward officers who like to party, and in their shared dysfunction form a working loyalty.
The plot involves an ‘ethnic killing’, and Michael’s mission is as a double agent of sorts tasked to infiltrate an Albanian criminal gang linked to drug trafficking and prostitution. Another detective of higher rank (Stephen Graham) becomes involved in the case, who it turns out is from Michael’s past; old scores still need to be settled, which has significant impact on the direction of the investigation. There are a number of additional touches, including Michael rescuing a trafficked woman, Ariana (Elisa Lasowski) held hostage by the Albanian gangsters.
The film is fast paced, with some impressive cinematography and editing. At times there is a drifting atmosphere, which works well and captures London streets at night. The soundtrack is by Matt Johnson of The The, and this adds to the wondering blurry atmosphere of the film, one minute abrasive Radiophonics, the next lush romance.
Overall Hyena is an entertaining film, which rises above the cinema cliches it could so easily have lost itself in. There are some great performances, including occasional comic touches which break up the intense darkness that dominates for much of the film. I would recommend for the viewer who would enjoy this genre of film.
Hyena is out now on DVD in the UK, released by Metrodome.