Kings of London (3 stars)

Kings of London

Channel 4, Wed 20 Aug, 11.35pm


Amid yet another summer of bland sport and tedious evictions, it’s reassuring to know that there are still programmes being made which at least try to bend our minds a bit. However, this latest instalment of C4’s Generation Next project, to showcase the work of hitherto unknown directorial talents, takes mind-bending to breaking point. Kings of London follows the fortunes of two teenage black brothers, both named Aristotle, with the semi-alcoholic elder struggling to get his life on track, and the enigmatic younger becoming the undisputed champion of the Ghetto Riders, a group of young men from London’s rough estates who have transformed themselves into urban cowboys.

Amid the general sense of quasi-surrealist unease, there’s some bed-wetting, constant threats from an adolescent gangster and continuing mystery as to why the younger brother has taken a vow of silence for a decade and goes around wearing a blonde wig. That he will remove it by the end is never in doubt, but whether we will get to the bottom of this oddball yet arresting piece is less predictable.

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