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My Brother the Devil

Two Arab brothers in London search for identity, in and out of criminal gangs

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Writer-director Sally El Hosaini's debut coming-of-age drama is set in the gritty London neighborhood of Hackney; the landscape is dominated by public housing and the streets teem with working-class immigrants and their often-restless offspring. Among them, two Arab brothers: Rashid (James Floyd), a low-level but charismatic hood, and his adoring, teen-age brother Mo (Fady Elsayed). But as Mo pines for the excitement of street life, Rashid seeks to get out, especially after befriending a man from outside his gang. In time, each brother feels betrayed by the other, and any resolution is further compromised by the ongoing cultural confusion of what it means to be an Arab man in contemporary Britain. The plot is a bit shaggy (and some of the mumbled slang hard to decipher), but the two young actors, particularly Floyd, ably carry this material that occasionally threatens to tumble into movie-of-the-week melodrama.

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