Small Axe is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982.Small Axe is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982.Small Axe is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982.
How Letitia Wright Pushed Steve McQueen on "Small Axe"
Both Mangrove & Red, White and Blue are just functional - quite linear and without adequate framing in the case of the latter but are alive with exceptional performances. In fact, every one of these is flawlessly cast and bristle with energy and character. My favourite by quite some way is "Lovers Rock" a near real-time slice of life at a party that is so evocative and so absorbing I was completely swept away by it. In these viral times it managed to distill the essence and manic energy of a wild house party and made me feel deep longing for that catharsis of it all. Both Wheatle and Education benefit from their shorter run times and are both deeply charismatic and touching. Throughout there is a real attention paid to costume, music, setting and it's done in such a magnificently textured and organic way you do feel like you're looking into the past.
It's been said that as of this year there is a new re-assessment of what is taught and in the surprisingly light closer "Education" I think there's somewhat of a meta recognition of this as well as through Robbie Gee's magnetic Simeon in Alex Wheatle. The past is the key to understanding the present, and a vital weapon in the arsenal of fighting for a better future. Small Axe has hopefully been seen by many and opened eyes. Britain really is this messy patchwork of mistakes and hardships, of awkward compromises and terrible injustices. However these impassioned creators coalesced here too, so there's some heart and hope in the wheezing lion yet.
- Dec 14, 2020