Conrad Khan, Ashley Madekwe, Harris Dickinson
Writer-director Henry Blake’s powerful, disquieting feature debut follows a mother (Ashley Madekwe) and her fourteen year old son (Conrad Khan) as he is groomed into a lethal nationwide drug selling enterprise.
Toni (Madekwe) is struggling to provide for Tyler (Khan) and his sister and when Tyler is excluded from school with his family in dire need of money, he is ripe for exploitation by local criminal Simon (Harris Dickinson), for whom he becomes a train-bound narcotics courier.
An under-reported fact of modern British life, ‘county lines’ employ vulnerable children to move drugs from cities to coastal and rural towns. Inspired by the stories Blake heard while mentoring kids at an East London pupil referral unit, County Lines depicts the cycle of debt, deceit and exploitation with a rigorous lack of sentiment and an impressive stylistic confidence, backed by a compelling central performance from Khan.