Sally El Hosaini’s coming of age/gang flick tells the story of two Egyptian Londoners growing up in a corner of the city where drugs and gangs are a part every day life.
Younger brother Mo (Fady Elsayed) wants to be like drug dealing brother Rashid (James Floyd) until he discovers that his hard man and previously straight sibling has discovered his inner gay.
While Rashid tries to extradite himself from the gang and ensure there are no reprisals on his family, Mo is worming his way into the gang and spilling the beans on his brother’s newfound homosexuality is a fast-track way to the manhood life with the gang promises him.
Both Floyd and Elsayed deliver some enjoyable and convincing performances and the plot largely entertains but the film is let down by an unsatisfactory ending in which, for no obvious or sighted reason, the gang merely seem to forget their despite to kill Rashid.
Ending aside, My Brother The Devil is an entertaining and solid effort but both its main themes – working class lads sell drugs and gang member goes gay – have been told before and told better.
For a better take on the story of gay gang members and the intolerance of their one-time running mates, see Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin’s Shank (2009).
Story grumbles aside, El Hosaini’s direction is strong and ambitious and hints and greater things to come.
Our verdict: 3/5
My Brother The Devil is showing as part of the 27th BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Visit bfi.org.uk/llgff for screening details and booking info.