STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
The true life story of Anthony Bryan (Patrick Robinson), a man who spent his whole life living and working in the UK, after moving here with his mother at the age of eight, only to find himself caught up in the crossfire of the government's 'Hostile Environment' policy, where he was suddenly challenged to produce documentation that he was legally living in the UK. What followed was an unthinkable nightmare, as he found himself plunged into an unduly punitive cycle, where he was forced to report to a government agency each week, before being rounded up and held in a detention centre in Dover, hundreds of miles from his home.
It's easy to think horror stories are things that just get stored in the deepest reaches of the human mind, purely fictional things that exist purely in the back of our souls. It's unimaginable that any of us could truly find ourselves plunged into a 'living nightmare', which we have no control over or power to stop, and yet only a few years ago, that is exactly what happened to Anthony Bryan, and numourous other members of the 'Windrush' generation, as news and politics was filled with rhetoric about 'getting tough on immigration.'
Although director Stella Corradi and writer Stephen S. Thompson do not shy away from dramatizing the effect on Anthony's nearest and dearest, including wife Janet (Nadine Marshall), daughter Eileen (Pippa Bennett-Warner) and son Gary (C.J. Beckford), it's still ultimately his personal, living ordeal, and so it's lucky that lead star Robinson manages to deliver a performance of such quiet understatement, an honest, hard working, law abiding man suddenly hounded with such Gestapo like force, before losing his liberty and getting caged up like a criminal, and the subsequent impact on his mental health and sanity.
Shamefully, the whole Windrush scandal largely went over my head, but this is the first time I've seen the full horror of what actually went on, and it really gets under your skin. An uncomfortable, but well made, well acted and very effective piece indeed. ****
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