29 March 2013 2:43 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A documentary that helped spark a reconciliation between rival gangs in Birmingham is a little short on context, but inspiring none the less

Until recently, gang members from the Birmingham suburbs of Handsworth (Burger Bar Boys) and Aston (Johnson Crew) risked their life just by crossing postcodes. One Mile Away is a blow-by-blow account of their stuttering reconciliation, detailing the crossfire killings of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare, and the surprising unifying effect of the 2011 riots. If signs look good, it's because of repentant gangsters such as Shabba (Johnsons) and Flash (Burgers), who were linked up by director Penny Woolcock, then made the peace process their own. The doc's short on context, and too forgiving of its poster boys, but as a study of their commitment to bettering themselves and the community, it's inspiring.

Rating: 4/5

DocumentaryHenry Barnes

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- Henry Barnes

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