County Lines review: This horribly timely debut about a real-life crisis is explosive

Charlotte O'Sullivan
·1-min read
<p>Conrad Khan plays a London teen</p>

Conrad Khan plays a London teen

Young London teen Tyler (Conrad Khan) shoves drugs up his bum then takes the train to unpleasant spots in the English countryside where he passes the drugs on to dealers and witnesses and endures horrors.

If you were looking for a word to describe writer-director Henry Blake’s horribly timely debut you would not pick “fun”, yet the filmmaking is so sharp I was hooked from the get-go.

The acting is superb. Khan’s as fuzzy as a meerkat and says a lot, especially when saying nothing at all. Harris Dickinson is equally restrained as Simon, the charismatic youth who grooms Tyler and persuades him that a life of crime will lead to riches.

After giving him food, a fresh pair of trainers and a pot of Vaseline, Simon watches Tyler head home. The off-kilter camera angle catches the glint in Simon’s eye. Khan and Dickinson’s scenes together are explosive.

<p>Harris Dickinson plays dealer Simon</p>Handout

Harris Dickinson plays dealer Simon

Handout

Blake himself is a youth worker based in London. The grim details he shares with us aren’t the product of his imagination. He’s made a drama out of a real crisis and the result is one of the most haunting films of 2020.

90 mins, 15. On digital and in cinemas