As London drug dealer Rashid (James Floyd) struggles to put his street life behind him, he discovers that his younger brother Mo (Fady Elsayed) is starting down the same dangerous road that he’s trying to leave. Born to Egyptian immigrants, Rashid and Mo live with their parents who hassle Rashid about finding honest work and push Mo towards college. They’re a hardworking couple who seem to be doing everything right for their family but for one reason or another, they’re unable to figure out what their children are getting into once they leave the house.
As a member of the D.M.G. (Drugs, Money, Guns) gang, Rashid works by selling marijuana and cocaine. Far from the hardest thug, he’s known as the brains of his crew. The head of the operation, the secretive Lenny (Ashley Thomas), tells him that he’s got a future in the drug business and puts pressure on him to keep his head down and give up thoughts of a nine-to-five. But after his best friend is stabbed to death, getting out is all he can think about.
Mo is an intelligent boy who looks up to his brother. He and his friends are young, both physically and emotionally. Rashid and his friends are older and dealing with problems much more serious than grades and wanting cool shoes. But after he’s given his first drug-running task, Mo starts trying to live with one foot in each world, something that becomes harder and harder to do as he gains more responsibility in the gang.
Sally El Hosaini has produced a tremendous debut feature. All of her actors, from the leads to supporting players deliver noteworthy performances. Saïd Taghmaoui (Lost) deserves as much praise as Floyd and Elsayed in his role as Sayyid, an Egyptian photographer who takes Rashid under his wing. There is so much to like about My Brother the Devil. The writing is strong and purposeful. The cinematography is beautiful. This will be one of my favorite films of the year. Like any great debut, it makes you excited to see what’s next.