The title of Kidulthood (2006) director Menhaj Huda’s latest film, Everywhere and Nowhere (2011), is directly quoted by its protagonist when asked where he’s from. Born and raised in London but of Pakistani descent, Ash (James Floyd) is at the centre of a culture clash that is his life. In his early twenties, with family and friends accepting arranged marriages as easy life-choices, or afraid of admitting to having interracial relationships to their parents, Ash is stuck at a crossroads.
What was once an original(ish) story issue at the heart of popular British hits such East is East (1999) and Bend it like Beckham (2002), has become an easy, go-to story strand for soap opera writers. Indeed, family’s feuding over cultural traditions versus the ideals of today’s youth culture may even seem like fairly trivial fodder on which to feed us yet another cinematic offering of this kind.
While a more Kidulthood-inspired kind of narrative concerning the drives urban youths may have been a more timely kind of film for Huda to bring us, what with recent current affairs; issues raised in his previous work are clearly worth extra attention now more than ever. That said, Everywhere and Nowhere sets out to demonstrate that a mixed sense of heritage remains a persistent problem for youngsters in our country, and simply because we’ve heard it all before, doesn’t make it any less relevant.
But it’s the frailty of being young and having a dream in a modern world that gives Everywhere and Nowhere an edge. Ash isn’t a super talented undiscovered DJ whom over the course of the film lives out his ambitions beyond his wildest imagination. Instead the film looks at the cost of dreaming. He’s given one shot at an hours set in one small club, but by the way his peers look upon this opportunity, it’s like he’s been given golden ticket, aptly demonstrating the few real avenues for success available to dreamers like Ash.
Featuring some fine performances from Adam Deacon, James Floyd and a virtually unrecognisable Simon Webbe from boy band Blue, it’s an easy film to go along with. However, it’s certainly not as well sprung and taught as Noel Clark’s screenplay for Kidulthood, against which is also extremely anticlimactic, leaving the ball distinctively in our court in a manner that may leave many dissatisfied.
As a film about the courage needed to decided between following a passion that may just take you everywhere you want to go, or taking a more sensible lucrative avenue that may leave you nowhere you want to be, in today’s hyper competitive, ultra-money-minded society, Everywhere and Nowhere is a passable effort that’s sure to strike a cord with young adults and teenagers facing similar decisions.