CRIME and punishment trade bruising blows in director Ron Scalpello’s gritty crime thriller set against the backdrop of East London’s gleaming skyscrapers and dockside cranes.

Scripted by Nick Moorcroft, The Corrupted is handcuffed to a motley crew of dodgy cops, idealistic journalists and sadistic crimelords, who meet foolhardy challenges to their authority with an abattoir bolt gun to the cranium. Blood pools beneath the capital’s soaring skyline, which looks breath-taking through cinematographer Richard Mott’s lens, contrasting the bright lights of Canary Wharf with the darkened desires of men in power.

In 2002, crime syndicate boss Clifford Cullen (Timothy Spall) gets a tip off from his well-placed contact (Hugh Bonneville) that London will be confirming a bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Cullen forcibly purchases swathes of land in East London including a plot belonging to father-of-two Eamonn McDonagh (Sean Dooley).

As soon as Eamonn puts pen to paper in exchange for duffel bag of cash, his death is staged as a suicide. Seventeen years later, Eamonn’s wayward son Liam (Sam Claflin) emerges from prison after serving nine years for armed robbery. He returns to Stratford with brother Sean (Joe Claflin), determined to rebuild bridges with old flame Grace (Naomi Ackie) and their young son Archie.

Unfortunately, Liam is drawn into the tangled web spun by Cullen, who is now chief executive of a housing consortium with various high-ranking politicians and police officers on its payroll.

Liam’s fate also becomes entwined with idealistic police detective Neil Beckett (Noel Clarke) and his partner Grace Connelly (Charlie Murphy), who intend to eradicate corruption from the force.

Bullets fly and knuckles shatter in the shadow of the Olympic park. The Corrupted is slickly engineered with familiar tropes recalling The Long Good Friday and a rich tradition of glowering gangsters and goons, not to mention the BBC series Line Of Duty. Scalpello’s film doesn’t scale those dizzy heights of narrative sophistication but Claflin is a likeable if underwritten pawn in a satisfyingly tangled conspiracy.

Spall vanishes behind the snarl of his crime boss, who senses power slipping through his fingers and warns: “If this ship goes down, everybody goes down!”

Disagree at your peril.

RATING: 5.5/10