The Guvnors: No Brilliant Breakthrough in Black British Film but still a good watch.
In the last few years I have been bored, tired even, of the slave, gang related, baby mama films that have “graced” our screens. Not even because they’re badly made, just purely because of the repetitiveness of the storylines. There has not been a positive depiction of Black British culture in a couple of years. While the gang/road lifestyle is not completely a thing of the past, there are a lot of black individuals doing great, positive things with their lives. Many people have changed their lives around, would it not be a good idea to continue to enrich and enlighten the minds of our young, instead of polluting their minds with what was?
I’m sure many of you did not hear about a film previewed in August/early September this year, called “The Guvnors”. Honestly, I was very surprised at how many of my friends did not know about it. I thought that the main character played by newcomer Harley Sylvester better known as one half of the Rizzle Kicks, would have bought the film, written by Gabe Turner, greater media coverage. It’s a shame that it was very much under advertised, and only limited to a few cinema viewings. Fortunately for me I did hear about it, I actually went to see it, the film managed to hold my interest all the way through, it was definitely worth the watch!
The Guvnors did a great job of mixing the old with the new. The film successfully pulled of a unique twist on grit Brit drama. The cast, true to real life didn’t just boast a young Black British cast, but it housed a multi-cultural one with varying ages. We were given a revival of the East End, with cockney, football-fanatic hooligans led by Doug Allen, who had rid of their old ways. Only to be called out by Sylvester’s gang who were desperate for status and power, much a reflection of the youth today.
Overall I think the film was trying to show the evolution of gangs; from fistfights to knives and guns but Turner didn’t quite delve deep enough. Even when the film touched on how on how technology, social media in particular, has a huge impact on peoples actions and how much our culture depends on it. In this case how we view and react to violence, I thought yes, now we are finally getting somewhere. However the film kind of picks up the ball and drops it, Turner failed to give the characters and storyline that complexity it would of needed to make a good film great.
Was the film a breakthrough in Black British film? No, was it a good watch? Yes, will it capture the interest of those outside its niche? Probably not but what the The Guvnors does show, is that it was able to bring out strong, promising performances from the youthful talent of today. However, as we approach 2015 it is definitely time to pave a new direction in light of Black British film, American film, world cinema even. We still fail to represent the enriched culture, the mindless talent and unbelievable creativity of the black race. Instead we seem content with constant stereotyping for the sake of being able to watch or star in a ‘black film.’ These are the very same so-called ‘black’ films following the same narrative over and over again. Black actors, actresses, writers, produces and directors need to come together to start working, start thinking –together, we can build a strong black cinema, a more authentic one, showcasing the life and stories of our great creators, our achievers and portray their lives in a rich, positive light.