Do not let the stylish opening scenes fool you, Hyena is a gritty and uncompromising thriller. It’s one of those movies about corrupt cops who are doing drugs, deals with criminals and all sorts of illegal activities. However, underneath all that is a good heart broken by something. And while we get hints of that throughout this movie, we never learn the infamous why. This means that Hyena is firmly on top of the wave, reveling in sometimes graphic visuals and shady dealings but ultimately remaining a shallow examination of this lifestyle.
Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant is a much deeper and impactful movie. And if we’re talking about British crime movies, I would be remiss not to mention I.D. one of the best movies of the subgenre. After all this, you might be wondering why you should check out Hyena. Well, there are a lot of reasons for that and the flaws I mentioned earlier can actually work in its advantage. Sometimes you just want to watch an engaging crime movie with fucked up morals and situations. This is that movie.
It builds an authentic atmosphere with ease and the soundtrack is just pure perfection. I actually looked up some of the songs. They are so simplistic and yet incredibly effective. And you guessed it, all this makes for one hell of an immersive thriller. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what’s going to happen in the next scene.
Additionally, the characters feel realistic building this dirty world we rarely get the chance to see. Moreover, the events portrayed here and criminal practices are entirely based on real events. From the way gangs operate and move into certain territories to disposal of bodies and other stuff, everything is straight from the news articles.
Meet Michael Logan, a detective working in the city of London. He and his crew of fellow cops rule the world of crime with a heavy hand. And a lot of cocaine and alcohol use. Michael is actually looking to expand his illegal operations with drug smuggling. This will turn his initial investment of £100,000 into much, much more money and ultimately, power. However, suddenly things start to go wrong for Michael on multiple fronts. We follow him through a frenzy of shady deals, drug use and efforts to stay out of jail.
Hyena explores not only the police corruption and drug trade but also human trafficking. More over it explores how all these things come together. And they always come together as they have been for centuries. It’s like there’s a huge discrepancy between what’s legal and what ends up actually happening. Like there are some profound moral problems in our society that ordinary men and women simply do not wish to acknowledge.
I mean, we are starting to see a slight shift towards legalization of certain things. However, the official system of values is still firmly tribal and prehistoric. Navigating this river of filth is Detective Michael Logan played masterfully by Peter Ferdinando. The rest of the cast was great and made up of familiar faces like Stephen Graham, Richard Dormer and Neil Maskell. Be sure to check out Neil in Kill List, a great blend of crime and horror. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies check out Filth and Welcome to the Punch.
Director: Gerard Johnson
Writer: Gerard Johnson
Cast: Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, Neil Maskell, Elisa Lasowski, MyAnna Buring, Richard Dormer, Tony Pitts, Orli Shuka
Fun Facts: While Ariana and Lisa are in the flat waiting for Michael, the TV is showing an old Norman Wisdom comedy. The reason for this is because his movies are very popular in Albania, Ariana’s homeland.