Peg and I agree that the first episode of Small Axe: “Mangrove,” and the third episode: “Red, White, and Blue” are fantastic, but the second episode, “Lovers Rock” was mostly bewildering. I really liked the “Lovers Rock” comment from Reader GG about the five-part series: “Ok, finished watching, and it seems like an insider/”fly on the wall” view of the lives of young Jamaicans and how they party and hook-up. It even had the men dancing out their anger, rage, frustration together. Interesting scene.” On reflection of the three episodes, I think writer and producer Steve McQueen may have used Lovers Rock as a buffer from the intense stories of Mangrove and Red, White, and Blue. I can hardly wait for episodes four and five.
‘Red, White and Blue’ tells the true story of Leroy Logan, a young forensic scientist with a yearning to do more than his solitary laboratory work. When he sees his father (played by Steve Toussaint) assaulted by two policemen, he finds himself driven to revisiting a childhood ambition to become a police officer; an ambition borne from the naïve hope of wanting to change racist attitudes from within. Although, Leroy is the top recruit in smarts, ability and fitness, those don’t get him any respect when he’s being assaulted and calls for back up from his fellow officers, who don’t come.
The blood and guts of Red, White, and Blue is the interaction of a son and his father, but the key element is really the son’s wife, played by Antonia Thomas. Her encouragement when he finally decides that he’ll become a police officer and when he’s disheartened by the by the abuse from fellow officers and the public, is the core of the film. She backs him up, no matter what happens, and knows he needs to pursue his dream. It’s like watching a magic act. You pay attention to the action, but it’s the little things that mean the most.
In all three episodes we are bombarded by music, but it’s the quieter moments that lull us into further reflection. Listen to the music in the background. As Leroy leaves his family for basic police training we hear the background music of the BeeGee’s hit “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” but the BeeGees aren’t singing it; it’s the almost female sounding tones of Al Green. As the credits roll at the end, we are treated to Kris Kristofferson’s For the Good Times, again performed by Al Green. Magic.
“Don’t look so sad, I know it’s over
But life goes on, and this old world will keep on turning
Let’s just be glad we had some time to spend together
There’s no need to watch the bridges that we’re burning”
Throughout the film we catch other versions of songs that color our perceptions and reactions. The Small Axe series is cinema at its best. What a great Christmas present for us all. I really look forward to the two final episodes. I’ll be re-watching all of them.
I love this IMDB interview . . . English accents and all: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ star John Boyega explains to IMDb why he chose to collaborate with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen on his follow-up project to the Star Wars films. – imdb.com/video/vi3225207065?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_3