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Stars: Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Stephen Graham, Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Creary, Jumayn Hunter, Fraser James, Akin Gazi

Director: Idris Elba

A (largely black) preview audience chuckled gleefully throughout and whooped at the end - which is possibly not the reaction debutant director Elba was looking for. Although his film does have moments of humour, it's basically a straightforward crime drama with an interesting historical background.

We meet its protagonist, D (Ameen) in 1973 Jamaica, where his older brother Jerry (Creary) devises a rave as means to make peace between rival gangs the Tappas and Spicers, the latter led by the ever-grinning King Fox (Shepherd).

After a gunman kills Jerry at the rave, D goes over to the dark side, running drugs for King Fox, to the disgust of Yvonne (Jackson), D's girl, who emigrates to London with their baby daughter.

Come 1983 and now gun-carrying D is dispatched to London himself by King Fox, where he hopes to make a cocaine deal with local druglord Rico (Graham, coming on a bit too strong), who proves hopped up and difficult.

D, while reuniting with Yvonne, also has plans to gun down Clancy, the man he believes shot his brother. Lots of killings do occur, before D emerges to live a somewhat undeserved idyllic lifestyle.

Beautifully shot, the film is well-made throughout and a credit to its director, although the Jamaican English is often difficult to follow, to the detriment of the plot. And it does seem mighty long for its average runtime.

David Quinlan

UK 2018. UK Distributor: StudioCanal (BBC/BFI). Colour by Panalux.
101 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 27 Aug 2018