Review: A grim story freshly told in gang tale 'Blue Story'

ca.sports.yahoo.com
4 min read
fairly easy
It's the message of so many war films, but even more when the war in question is not between nations but between urban gangs — youths killing each other over petty grievances and turf battles that mean nothing to anyone else. Such films generally do not conclude there's anything useful about
War is futile. War is a waste. War lays ruin to generations of promising young people.

gang violence.

Seen in that light, "Blue Story," a chronicle of youth gangs in south London, is hardly revolutionary. What distinguishes this debut feature from Andrew Onwubolu, aka Rapman, is firstly its storytelling structure, making welcome use of the writer-director's rap talents to serve as a Greek chorus. And secondly its cast, with several vital performances of note, especially from heartbreakingly vulnerable newcomer Stephen Odubola.

This doesn't make "Blue Story" an easy experience. You'll be ground down, over 91 minutes, not only by the brutality of these street wars, or even their futility, but by the depressing sameness of it all. This is is likely part of Rapman's aim. But be warned: there may be moments when, faced with another pointless foray by hooded youngsters with guns and knives into the menacing streets, you'll be tempted to give up.

"Blue Story," which stems from a short YouTube trilogy Rapman did in 2014, is not a tale of two cities but of two boroughs — or postal codes, as the director has put it — and one key friendship. The rapport between school mates Timmy (Odubola) and Marco (Micheal Ward, brooding and charismatic) is so convincingly rendered that it's a true shock when, later, we see how easily such a bond can dissolve.

We briefly meet Timmy as a young boy, being dressed up in a crisp shirt and tie to go to school in Peckham…
Jocelyn Noveck
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