*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*
After breezing through Lovers Rock and being rendered speechless by the performances in Mangrove, I had a strong feeling that visionary director Steve McQueen’s third Small Axe film, Red, White and Blue, would be nothing short of spectacular. And fortunately, my prediction was spot-on. (For those who are unfamiliar with the anthology, Small Axe is a collection of five standalone films that offer insight into the experience of the Black community in Britain.)
Based on a true story, Amazon Prime’s Red, White and Blue takes place in London and follows Leroy Logan (John Boyega), a Black British forensic scientist who joins the London Metropolitan Police after his father is assaulted by two racist officers. Throughout the film, we see the many challenges of his career transition, from the bigotry of his fellow officers to the disapproval of those in his own community.
The biopic, which earned Boyega a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, is a pretty sharp turn from the feel-good romance that precedes it in the anthology. Still, Red, White and Blue feels timely, considering America’s ongoing history of racial tensions and police violence. As seen in the film, racist U.K. officers used excessive force with people in the Black community during the ‘80s, and it’s not that different from what we’ve been seeing in the U.S. for several years. Violent police recordings have led to public scrutiny and now, after the murder of George Floyd, there are calls to defund the police.