Rent County Lines (2019)

3.6 of 5 from 76 ratings
1h 30min
Rent County Lines Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Fourteen-year-old Tyler (Conrad Khan) attends a pupil referral unit, where he is isolated and bullied. At home he must look after his younger sister Aliyah (Tabitha Milne-Price) while his mother, Toni (Ashley Madekwe), works nights. When the preoccupied and exhausted Toni loses her job, she thrusts the family into a desperate financial situation, leaving Tyler vulnerable to a 'recruiter' who targets children to promote a drug-dealing enterprise out of the city.
This powerful drama about a mother and her son who is groomed into a lethal nationwide drugs network - a 'county line' - is inspired by Henry Blake's first-hand experience as a youth worker on the frontline of child exploitation and drug trafficking in the UK.
Actors:
, , , , , , , Clay Milner Russell, , , , , , , Ebenezer Gyau, , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Victoria Bavister, David Broder
Writers:
Henry Blake
Studio:
British Film Institute
Genres:
British Films, Drama, New Releases
Countries:
UK
BBFC:
Release Date:
19/04/2021
Run Time:
90 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0, English Audio Description Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.55:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Feature commentary by writer-director Henry Blake (2020)
  • County Lines (short) (Henry Blake, 2017, 22 mins): a proof of concept film made before embarking on the feature version, includes director's commentary
  • County Lines Q&A (2020, 36 mins): Henry Blake and actors Conrad Khan and Ashley Madekwe talk to film critic Guy Lodge
  • Anatomy of a Scene (2020, 3 mins): Henry Blake and Conrad Khan discuss one of the key scenes from the film
  • Gus and Son (Henry Blake, 2017, 13 mins): tensions rise as a father and son take on one last job together
  • Children of the City (1944, 31 mins): a dramatised study of child delinquency in Scotland
  • DVD-ROM content: scripts for Gus and Son and County Lines (short)
  • Trailer
  • Behind the scenes stills gallery
BBFC:
Release Date:
19/04/2021
Run Time:
90 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0, English Audio Description DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.55:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Feature commentary by writer-director Henry Blake (2020)
  • County Lines (short) (Henry Blake, 2017, 22 mins): a proof of concept film made before embarking on the feature version, includes director's commentary
  • County Lines Q&A (2020, 36 mins): Henry Blake and actors Conrad Khan and Ashley Madekwe talk to film critic Guy Lodge
  • Anatomy of a Scene (2020, 3 mins): Henry Blake and Conrad Khan discuss one of the key scenes from the film
  • Gus and Son (Henry Blake, 2017, 13 mins): tensions rise as a father and son take on one last job together
  • Children of the City (1944, 31 mins): a dramatised study of child delinquency in Scotland
  • DVD-ROM content: scripts for Gus and Son and County Lines (short)
  • Trailer
  • Behind the scenes stills gallery

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Reviews (2) of County Lines

Relevant British Drama - County Lines review by GI

Spoiler Alert
11/04/2021

This is a powerful and bleak British social drama that focuses on the exploitation of children to run drugs for criminals from large cities into smaller towns. Conrad Khan in a really good, sullen performance plays Tyler, a disengaged 14 year old who lives on a London estate with his single mother and younger sister. He finds glamour and excitement by running drugs for Simon, a ruthless street dealer. Tyler quickly sees the seedy underbelly of the trade and eventually violence comes his way. This is a compelling film but the narrative is predictable and there are a host of similar dramas quite like this so it comes across as a little clichéd at times. However, it is extremely well acted although occasionally the direction by Henry Blake seems a little heavy handed and unsubtle. Worth checking out though.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Sensitive, powerful portrayal of a difficult subject - County Lines review by PD

Spoiler Alert
23/04/2021

This film, Henry Blake's debut feature, deals with the delicate subject of how an introverted 14-year-old boy is lured all too easily into the world of county lines drug trafficking.

Harris Dickinson and Ashley Madekwe both cede the spotlight to young lead Conrad Khan, who delivers an outstanding performance of unnerving stillness and tightly coiled anguish. 18 at the time of filming, he convincingly plays the younger Tyler, a taciturn social outcast in the pupil referral unit he sporadically attends. Belittled and bullied in class, he’s the man of the house at home, effectively parenting his young sister Aliyah while his single mother Toni (Madekwe) works menial night shifts and sleeps off the days.

Blake’s economical script doesn’t dwell on the history that took Tyler out of school but it's clear enough that he hasn't had much of a chance, with limited support from the authorities and the over-burdened Toni. Rudderless, isolated children like Tyler are easy prey for dealers seeking county lines runners, who apparently are often targeted out of pupil referral units. Blake, who spent some time working in a PRU, plainly knows his terrain here, and when Tyler is defended from bullies one evening by imposing “entrepreneur” Simon (Dickinson), viewers will sense the grooming machine in motion well before the teen, Dickinson subtly mirroring Tyler’s sloping body language and terse, congested speech to suggest how he, too, may once have been in the boy’s uncomfortable skin, cyclically recruited in the same predatory way. A crisp jump to six months later, meanwhile, shows how fast the process can be. Fully immersed in grim drug-mule duty, a hardened Tyler has gone from withdrawn to stone-blank, a transition that Khan navigates with considerable restraint. Between the film’s portraits of hemmed-in masculinity, meanwhile, Madekwe offers a moving study of imperfect motherhood that is far more easily punished than assisted.

There's quite a few weakness: some scenes are a little heavy-handed, and the stylised camerawork doesn't always come off, whilst the score is an irritating distraction; the ending, moreover, is perhaps more convenient than it is convincing. But overall there's a lot of humanity here and the director has done very well to highlight such an important, difficult subject so powerfully yet so sensitively.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.