Small Axe: Mangrove (BBC) TV Show Review & Comments

Coulson

Distinguished Member
Hi @Kumari Tilakawardane

I hope to get a chance to watch this but I personally think that being told in the review too many times how important this is and that we all should be watching will put people off.

Here would be my review based on yours:

A bit about Steve McQueen, then

"Obviously, it’s wonderful and important for viewers of Caribbean heritage to see their stories told on screen by people who look like them. But more to the point, this is a series about British history"

Then some stuff about the actors, cinematographer etc, then

"The five-part Small Axe series continues each Sunday on BBC One, and continues next with Lovers Rock, the fictional story in the anthology. Both timely and timeless, Small Axe is an important piece of British culture and it feels it at every turn in this first film."
 
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steviedr

Distinguished Member
Didn’t realise this had started, watched a trailer some time ago when I was looking to see what Steve was working on next.

I love all of McQueens work, BBC did well to land this.

For anyone who is yet to see any of his back catalogue, you are in for a treat, he has an exceptional eye, you can see his artistic background come into play.
 
Hi @Kumari Tilakawardane

I hope to get a chance to watch this but I personally think that being told in the review too many times how important this is and that we all should be watching will put people off.

Here would be my review based on yours:

A bit about Steve McQueen, then

"Obviously, it’s wonderful and important for viewers of Caribbean heritage to see their stories told on screen by people who look like them. But more to the point, this is a series about British history"

Then some stuff about the actors, cinematographer etc, then

"The five-part Small Axe series continues each Sunday on BBC One, and continues next with Lovers Rock, the fictional story in the anthology. Both timely and timeless, Small Axe is an important piece of British culture and it feels it at every turn in this first film."
The word “important” was only written three times in the review itself:

Important for viewers of Caribbean heritage.
Important piece of British culture.
Important viewing in the summary.

I personally don’t find that excessive. It’s Kumari’s review. I’m sure you could write your own. You don’t have to agree with her but telling her how you think it should be written rather than discussing why you disagree with her opinion comes across as really condescending.

I will probably give this a watch based on the review.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
The word “important” was only written three times in the review itself:

Important for viewers of Caribbean heritage.
Important piece of British culture.
Important viewing in the summary.

I personally don’t find that excessive. It’s Kumari’s review. I’m sure you could write your own. You don’t have to agree with her but telling her how you think it should be written rather than discussing why you disagree with her opinion comes across as really condescending.

I will probably give this a watch based on the review.
No problem. My opinion backed up with my ideas, that's all :)
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
So as far as I can see - some political activists kept using a cafe/restaurant as a meeting place. Their motives seemed to be aligned to the Black Power/Panther movement in the USA (although not linked to them). And the Police kept breaking up their meetings.

I am not sure why it is important, I have never even heard of it before today, but then again I grew up in rural Leicestershire 1970s-80s and London might as well have been another country at that point.

You have to remember what is important news to one part of the country/communities is just chip paper to another.
 

MikeTVMikeTV

Well-known Member
Well the Black Panthers in the USA were deemed to be a terrorist organisation and if you go around killing the Police and are still in prison for it 40 to 50 years later then is it any wonder that in the UK the Police would raid the Headquarters of a Black Panther Affiliation Party?

Not sure this is essential viewing to be honest.

I would rather read a book.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
... if you go around killing the Police
I won't pretend to know the hearts and minds of the Panthers at the time. But what would you do if people in your community were being regularly shot by an armed militia with impunity? This really doesn't ring a bell with you after all that has happened recently?
Well the Black Panthers in the USA were deemed to be a terrorist organisation
...is it any wonder that in the UK the Police would raid the Headquarters of a Black Panther Affiliation Party?
But yes on your main point, and especially at that point in history, the Police were obviously going to take the actions they did. It would have been a surprise if they didn't.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
being regularly shot by an armed militia with impunity - I am assuming you mean the Police?

Are you talking about the UK or the USA?

And are you talking about the 60's or the current decade?
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
being regularly shot by an armed militia with impunity - I am assuming you mean the Police?

Are you talking about the UK or the USA?

And are you talking about the 60's or the current decade?
It's pretty clear that the point being made by @MikeTVMikeTV was that the Panthers in the US were considered terrorists. My initial response was related to that.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
So true ;)
 

Kingchin

Active Member
Didn’t realise this had started, watched a trailer some time ago when I was looking to see what Steve was working on next.

I love all of McQueens work, BBC did well to land this.

For anyone who is yet to see any of his back catalogue, you are in for a treat, he has an exceptional eye, you can see his artistic background come into play.
Hunger, Shame, 12 Year's A Slave all excellent films. Couple of other British film directors Ken Loach and Shane Meadows both have a similar gritty realistic style in most of their stuff.

Grandaddy of the realistic British tv and film has to be Alan Clarke. Made In Britain tv movie 1982 and Scum the film version 1983 set the scene inspired future UK film makers. Those two films still hold up very well today.
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
Steve's last film Widows is also a great watch. I had for some reason written it off after watching the trailer, I should have known better, great heist movie, again, exceptionally filmed (he uses a great cinematographer), lovely score from Hans Zimmer / Sade too.
 

theprestige

Well-known Member
Hunger, Shame, 12 Year's A Slave all excellent films. Couple of other British film directors Ken Loach and Shane Meadows both have a similar gritty realistic style in most of their stuff.

Grandaddy of the realistic British tv and film has to be Alan Clarke. Made In Britain tv movie 1982 and Scum the film version 1983 set the scene inspired future UK film makers. Those two films still hold up very well today.

Agreed on Alan Clarke. He is amazing. That said, I think if anybody can match Clarke's intensity and realism, it's Steve McQueen. Looking forward to watching this.
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
Cheers for the review, will definitely be watching this. McQueen is a very solid filmmaker.

Also props for mentions of Meadows, Loach and Clarke. All top directors.

I'd also add Jimmy McGovern to the list, albeit as a writer.
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member

Coulson

Distinguished Member
The fact that such a well known and highly regarded British director with a unique voice and cultural perspective was involved this series is more than enough to get even the mildly curious to watch. His resume suggests that he will be honest and that is also important to me.
 

jumpman 1972

Standard Member
I don't doubt it's good but it's just not my cup of tea.
I don't want to be preached at or educated and if i did i would watch a documentary.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
I don't doubt it's good but it's just not my cup of tea.
I don't want to be preached at or educated and if i did i would watch a documentary.
...... and this in a nutshell is my problem with the review. I think Mr McQueen is too talented an artist to do make it boring or preachy. Whatever you thought of Black Panther, it didn't come across to anyone as preachy. But reviews like this would make even an MCU film sound unapproachable.
 

outoftheknow

Moderator
...... and this in a nutshell is my problem with the review. I think Mr McQueen is too talented an artist to do make it boring or preachy. Whatever you thought of Black Panther, it didn't come across to anyone as preachy. But reviews like this would make even an MCU film sound unapproachable.
I take your point but any member can follow the AVF rules to review something and post their review of it. I suggest we (all) keep these review threads on topic and discuss the reviewed thing rather than the reviewer’s opinions and the review itself. Thanks
 
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Nick74

Well-known Member
This wasn't preachy. McQueen et al. told a story that's been largely erased from British history.

While many will know of Darcus Howe, I'd imagine few are familiar with the story of the "Mangrove nine" and how institutional racism damaged their lives. I was unaware of the events and prosecutions depicted. I'm grateful that this film brought this aspect of our history to my attention.

This is an important piece of television because it helps redress an imbalance in the narratives we're granted access to. Questions of representation aren't always about what's depicted. They can be about what's omitted, too. When stories are erased from our history, those events lose cultural and political influence.

Despite avoiding conviction, this was not ultimately a triumphant tale, nor did it shout its message. This was about the responsibility we all bear to those that follow. When we cave, when we crumble, we fail not only ourselves and our contemporaries, but future generations.

This opening film felt especially timely, since the events portrayed intersect with concerns that are central to the BLM movement. It's little surprise that responses are polarised. Our reactions will align broadly with where we sit in an increasingly unpleasant culture war.

It would be nice to think we'd consigned the attitudes this film depicts to the dustbin of history, yet some of these perspectives are alarmingly resurgent.
 

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