With Under the Shadow and Wounds, British-Iranian filmmaker Babak Anvari announced himself as a bracingly fresh voice in the supernatural horror genre. But there’s more than one string to Anvari’s fearsome bow, as evidenced by I Came By, a “Hitchcockian neo-noir crime thriller” that also proves the British film industry doesn’t make them like it used to.
“I find it interesting that we’ve lost touch with the whole Hitchcockian genre in Britain,” Anvari tells Total Film in the new issue, featuring Thor: Love and Thunder on the cover. “So it’s really exciting for me to take inspiration from the master and try to do something in that vein, in modern times.”
Set in contemporary inner-city London, the film stars George MacKay as Toby and Percelle Ascott as Jay, graffiti artists and income-inequality avengers who break into the homes of the city’s wealthy elite only to tag their walls with a three-word insignia – ‘I Came By’ – before slipping away into the night.
“It’s to tell the elites, ‘We’re watching you. Don’t think you can get away with stuff,'” says Anvari, who sees in graffiti writing a “creative and subversive” way to challenge the system. “They’re doing it, in their head, for a cause.”
That cause makes them outsiders even among the grafitti-writing community, who refer to artists who break the code by breaking and entering as ‘toys’. Anvari first had the idea for I Came By in his early twenties, when he was no stranger to rudderless young men like hot-headed Toby. See MacKay as the character in an exclusive new look at the movie above.
I Came By is in cinemas from August 19 and on Netflix from August 31. For much from Anvari, check out the new issue of Total Film (opens in new tab), available now on shelves physical and digitally (opens in new tab).
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