Ahmed manages to ease some of the gripes that come with a story line as achingly predictable as City Of Tiny Lights’
Set in present day London, Tommy (Riz Ahmed) is a private detective who takes up a case searching for a missing prostitute. Looking through the dark alleys of London, Tommy unearths not just clue to the woman’s disappearance, but also secrets about his past.
City Of Tiny Lights really struggles to get its story across. The plot line is paper thin, and by having a large portion of the film focused on other matters, the beefing out doesn’t work. There is too much time given to the multiple sub-plots and not enough to the main story giving it a lack of flow and it ends up convoluted and confusing. It certainly takes itself seriously which counts for something, but in reality, this is storytelling at it’s weakest.
This seems to affect the film as a whole, with a general feel of a TV drama. City Of Tiny Lights could easily have been a one off 9pm drama on the BBC. Shown once and then forgotten. It is achingly predictable and the small number of flashbacks are actually the films best moments. Riz Ahmed however is the standout, with the only performance worth of any note, and this works out well because he is in every scene (minus flashbacks).
He even manages to scrape through some of the poorer portions of dialogue and by becoming the focus, Ahmed manages to ease some of the gripes that come with a story line as achingly predictable as City Of Tiny Lights’. This does mean that the rest of the characters appear paper thin, again leading back to a lack of substance.
There is enough to keep the interest but it never peaks in the way it needed to and leaves nothing but a sense of longing behind. There is absolutely no substance to the images on screen, and throughout there is a want and a need for more, but City Of Tiny Lights never manages to fulfill that need, which actually is quite a shame.