David Gyasi is one of a (thankfully) growing number of young black British actors beginning to make their way in Hollywood. Along with David Oyelowo and John Boyega, they’re following hot on the heels of Idris Elba. Gyasi starred in his first film in 2003, but spent many years working in TV before he finally got the chance he’s deserved in Interstellar, Cloud Atlas and The Dark Knight Rises. In Sean Spencer’s debut film, Panic, he delivers a highly nuanced and studied performance.
Music journalist Andrew Deeley (Gyasi) lives in a high rise in London. Traumatised from an attack which has scarred him both physically and mentally, he’s a virtual recluse. Andrew is obsessed with a beautiful Chinese neighbour (Yennis Cheung) who he spies on. After a night with Amy (Pippa Nixon), who he meets on a dating site, she witnesses the kidnap of his neighbour. Andrew embarks on a quest to discover the truth, which brings him into contact with a seedy underworld.
Gyasi is the true star of Panic. Spencer allows the camera to hover over his face, his expressions speaking louder than words. Whilst the plot is quite thin, there’s great acting from both Gyasi and Nixon. Panic starts slowly but Spencer gradually ramps up the pace. It’s an impressive low budget British film, with a killer combination of superior acting and a taut script.
Panic is out in cinemas from Friday.