Reviewed by Joanne Lewis: If you don’t want to experience the raw violence of gang life and the brutal impact it has on their communities, then BLUE STORY is not the movie for you. But if you want an experience that will hit at your core and give you a taste of the brutality of the streets. Then sit tight and hold on.
Written and directed by Rapman BLUE STORY centers around best friends Timmy (Stephen Odubola) and Marco (Micheal Ward) who go to the same high school in Peckham, but live in neighboring London boroughs. When Marco’s beaten up by one of Timmy’s primary school friends, the two boys wind up on rival sides of a never-ending cycle of a gang war in which there are no winners … only victims.
The building of the friendship of the main leads is beautifully executed by writer/director Rapman as he allows us to become intimate with the characters and all the insecurities and challenges that come with teenage life. With Timmy’s older brother the head of a rival gang and the insidious nature of the gang life around them, it does not make for a happy ending.
In one scene Marco and Timmy are approached by some gang members who begin to identify Marco as “the Ghetto boy” because of the neighborhood where he lives but he is quickly defended by Timmy. Giving us a clear indication that in many urban cities sometimes walking into the wrong part of town or the colors you wear can get you killed. Stephen and Michael are riveting to watch, the chemistry between them is honest and sincere. They develop a strong friendship while in high school always watching out for each other. Ultimately this bond was not meant to last.
This film doesn’t try to force any messages on the moviegoer but it will show you an extremely dangerous world and the violence that permeates gang life and collateral damage to human lives.
Blue offers a strong social commentary about the disregard of the law and the sense of power that gangs perpetuate. And it will make wonder how guns are so accessible to people who have no regard for human lives. This film may have been filmed in London’s urban neighborhoods but it tells a universal tale of gang life anywhere in the world.
There are intense, hard to watch scenes, but the film’s lyrics and music are it’s own character because it is seamlessly woven in the storytelling as a visual music video recap. So if you are ready to watch a strong cast and a film that will not hold back on the reality of life then BLUE STORY is coming to you on digital platforms beginning on May 5th, 2020. I am looking to seeing what comes next from Rapman.
Paramount Home Entertainment will bring the critically acclaimed film BLUE STORY to U.S. audiences following its debut in the UK. The film will be available to purchase or rent on digital platforms beginning on May 5. Fans who purchase a digital copy will also have access to bonus content, including deleted/extended scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
ABOUT THE FILM
BLUE STORY was released theatrically in the UK last year and was nothing short of a sensation — passionate audience response and a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. BLUE STORY recently won Best Film at the 2020 NME Awards.
Born and raised in South-East London, Andrew Onwubolu (aka Rapman) first burst onto the public’s consciousness in 2014 with a series of short films released on YouTube that he wrote, directed, starred in, and provided music and lyrics to. Inspired by the storytelling style of rappers such as 2Pac, Eminem, and the Notorious BIG, Rapman’s shorts were a unique combination of music video and narrative filmmaking, shot on the streets of South-East London and featuring his very own rap narration.
In 2018, Rapman wrote and directed the three-part Shiro’s Story. Inspired by the true-life story of a Lewisham man who uncovers a shocking family secret, Shiro’s Story starred Joivan Wade (The First Purge) and Percelle Ascott (The Innocents), with the actors mouthing his long-form raps and Rapman appearing on-screen as a kind of Greek chorus.
Shiro’s Story rocketed him to global stardom (the 3 parts have a combined 21 million views on YT) and won him Video Of The Year at the 2018 GRM Daily Rated Awards.
Rapman suddenly found himself in huge demand on both sides of the Atlantic, signing a “life-changing” deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, who now manage him in film and TV, as well as, providing him with his own record label to release his own music and that of other artists.
Rapman is making his feature directorial and acting debut with BLUE STORY, which he also penned. It was recently announced that he will direct a film based on the Oscar-nominated A PROPHET that Dennis Lehane adapted. He was recently included on Variety’s “10 Europeans to Watch” list.
ABOUT MICHEAL WARD
Micheal Ward is the recipient of the BAFTA’s Rising Star Award (2020) for Blue Story & Top Boy, and NME’s Best Actor Award (2020) for Blue Story. He currently appears in the highly-acclaimed Netflix series Top Boy.
In Top Boy, Micheal plays one of the lead roles, Jamie, a young, hungry and ruthless gang leader that has taken over. The resurgence of Top Boy hit the headlines after it was announced that Drake James executive produced the series. Drake opened his O2 Arena show with the Top Boy trailer to much fan and press excitement.
Micheal will also appear in the Netflix film The Old Guard alongside Charlize Theron.
Previous roles for Micheal have included Brendan in the BBC’s coming of age drama The A-List and the documentary film Rude Boy: The Story of Trojan Records, where he played the part of a younger Roy Ellis.
He was recently featured in the April issue of US Vogue as well (link to online version here).