Gerard Johnson, who wrote and directed the moody crime drama Hyena, claims to have spent over three years researching human trafficking and police corruption in London, and his effort shows in the film’s immersive presentation of both subjects. Johnson’s camera is rarely more than a few feet away from his characters; intimations of the knotty system they inhabit—a crisscrossed network of corrupt cops, immigrant crime families, informants, and modern-day slaves—enter the frame from all directions. The handheld camera, in turn, is almost always in motion, as if struggling to keep up with all the shifting alliances. Johnson shot the film around the west London neighborhoods where he lives, and while the locations feel authentically grungy, he also gives them a certain allure, filming under romantic neon lighting that’s plainly influenced by Michael Mann and Abel Ferrara. Continue reading >>