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Issue #1839      September 12, 2018

Film Review by Maria Duarte

Yardie

Idris Elba shows that he is equally adept behind the camera as he is in front of it in this, his directorial debut based on Victor Headley’s cult novel. Yardie’s focus is Jamaican gangland culture and the film opens in 1970s Kingston, where the young and impressionable Dennis Campbell, known as D, is rocked when he witnesses the murder of his older brother (Everaldo Creary) at the hands of rival gangs.

Local don and music producer King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd) takes him under his wing and, 10 years later, sends D (Aml Ameen) to London to make a drugs deal on his behalf with ruthless London gangster Rico (Stephen Graham).

When, by chance, he encounters his brother’s killer he embarks on a path of bloody revenge and violent retribution.

Punctuated by an emotive and moody soundtrack, the film captures the look and tone of Kingston and ‘80s Hackney. And it gives a sense of Jamaican culture and the power of criminal gangs at that time, driven by a powerhouse performance by Ameen and a truly extraordinary and unforgettable turn by Graham, whose character adopts a faux Jamaican patois accent. Truly surreal.

Ameen’s co-star, impressive newcomer Shantol Jackson, provides the heart and moral compass of the drama as D’s childhood sweetheart Yvonne. D reconnects with Yvonne and their young daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby on his arrival in London and it is Yvonne who desperately tries to keep him on the straight and narrow.

It’s a rich and gripping crime drama and an exciting and promising debut feature by the man tipped to become the next James Bond.

Morning Star

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