Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) lives in one of these high-rise apartment blocks on a dodgy, litter and graffiti-strewn estate somewhere in the darkest heart of Cameron's Britain.

One evening, he witnesses his pregnant partner getting mugged and beaten by a bunch of young hoodies. She's left in a coma; he's left traumatised, and bringing up their baby by himself.

Tommy develops agoraphobia and shits his pants every time the electricity metre in his run-down flat is out of credit. Even his infant daughter is attuned to the fact that the dark is scary: that's when the attacks may come.

What attacks? Well, Tommy lives in fear of the youth who terrorise the estate with casual abandon. You know, the hooded ones we've all read about in right-wing newspapers.

Tommy even goes to a support group in a bid to outgrow his fear, where he's aided by the friendly Marie (Wunmi Mosaku). But when Tommy's partner dies he slides into further decline and even Marie worries that his paranoia may be stifling both his and his daughter's chances of ever living a normal life.

Spurred on by an aggressive comment tossed his way at his partner's funeral by a foul-mouthed, renegade priest (James Cosmo), Tommy finally finds - with Marie's help - the courage to step outside his front door.

It's a shame, then, that their foray into the great outdoors results in a fatal tragedy. Tommy, understandably, is left more fraught than ever before. Could it be that the priest is right in his manic ramblings: the hooded creatures who roam the estate at night are demonic, and have a calculated interest in taking Tommy's daughter off his hands...?

CITADEL is slickly shot and effectively edited. Writer-director Ciaran Foy's style is substantial but never so much that it overshadows the drama at the heart of his simple screenplay. However the demonisation of today's hoodie youth is not only obvious, but it's been done before - EDEN LAKE, THEM etc. Here, the demonisation is more literal than ever before, granted. However, so is the squalor and social deprivation that these people live in. At times I was tempted to say this film is as bleak as COMBAT SHOCK; at others, I found the unremitting oppressiveness (no decor or photos in Tommy's place; grey skies and graffiti EVERYWHERE) almost laughable.

Performances are solid. Even Barnard manages to pull at heart strings, despite looking too much like Frodo for my liking. Of course, the key manipulating factor here is putting an infant at risk. It's always bound to be an emotive ploy, and it certainly succeeds in upping the tension on occasion here.

But overall CITADEL felt like a small film. It was worth its 80-minute running time, certainly. Though, the ideas didn't reach far. It's a reactionary film, and it's reacting to a story that's ran with the tabloids (and been explored in other films) for quite some time now. Modern youth culture is violent and scary - we get it. CITADEL spells it out so blatantly, so sensationally, that one wonders whether Foy isn't a Daily Mail reader.

This British film comes to UK DVD uncut courtesy of Metrodome. It looks really healthy in a nice 16x9 presentation which offers accurate playback of its stylised colour schemes and pin-sharp visuals.

English audio is given the 2.0 treatment and is similarly reliable throughout.

The DVD-R screener disc provided for review didn't give any clues as to how the eventual retail disc will be produced in terms of extras or menus.

Still, going on the presentation of the main feature, I'd say Metrodome's disc is going to be an adequate one. And that word, adequate, is fitting of the main feature too. Not great, but good. Though for a better British film that tackles similar themes of isolation, survival, loss and paranoia, I urge you to track down the criminally unreleased A RECKONING.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Metrodome Distribution
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review