Wednesday 5 September 2018

Film: 'Yardie'

Idris Elba's first foray into directing a cinema feature is hardly an auspicious start. However it's not bad, it just failed to impress me. However, I do commend him for choosing a story that has been little explored on the cinema screen viz. rivalry between Jamaican-origin gangs over drug control. If this subject has figured at all in a film it's always been a peripheral aspect, subsidiary to a more engrossing tale. In this film it's dead centre - and with all the related violence, which doesn't take much imagination to conjure up, a lot of it ugly (but of course!), mostly with guns. I also admire him for not appearing in the film himself when the temptation must have been strong. Other than that I'm stumped as to why I should recommend this. 

Btw: 'Yardie' is a word used by the West Indian community to refer generally to someone of Jamaican origin or, more specifically, to a member of a Jamaican gang often engaged in criminal activities. 

The first half hour of the film is set in Kingston, Jamaica, with two gangs engaged in open shoot-outs in the streets, a young boy with his brother of double his age whom he idolises, is witness to the shooting of the brother during a festive occasion to mark a reconciliation of the gangs. The incident affects him deeply when the film jumps forward several years to where he's now grown up, pulled into the drugs scene and chosen to make a delivery of cocaine to a drugs dealer in London, and where the remainder of the film is set. This central character (played by Stephen Graham) keeps seeing visions of his late brother (oh dear, such a cliche!) in broody, wordless mood, and we don't know if the latter approves or not, or is just there as reassurance that the younger brother is being watched over. 

Now I have to confess that for much of the film I could dearly have asked for subtitles because although the language used throughout is English, the Jamaican patois of nearly all the characters, London included, is so pronounced as to be almost indecipherable, with the result that I lost much of the argument, motivations and even the relationship between characters. In London the main player visits a young woman who lives with her little girl, and a relationship ensues. I couldn't even tell if this was, in fact, his wife - was he the father of the child? Search me! As for who was who in the drugs world, I can't begin to explain - and don't particularly care.

There were moments which certain members of the small audience thought hilarious. I didn't find anything at all funny in the whole film, only tiresome. I was completely 'out of it'.

It was interesting that despite the many crimes of various sorts being committed, nowhere in the film do we see any evidence of police presence. (You see, I'm trying hard to find something noteworthy to say).

I've no doubt of the sincerity in Elba trying to create a thrilling, action film. The fact is that it turned out to be so forgettable.............5.

(IMDb.....................5.7 / Rott. Toms..................6 )

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