Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Strong atmosphere, weak story about drugs, killing, revenge.

Movie NR 2019 102 minutes
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The feature directing debut of Idris Elba, this crime drama is rich in atmosphere but sadly weak in the storytelling department. Its scenario is riddled with lazy coincidences and passive behavior. Based on a 1992 novel by Jamaican author Victor Headley, Yardie takes a fascinating look into Jamaica and its culture, including dances, funerals, rituals, and music. When Elba deals curiously and clearly with these things, the movie comes alive. But when he resorts to using dialogue and narration to explain things to an international audience, the movie gets stuck in neutral. When the story moves to London and more of the plot kicks in, things flag even more. (This is no The Harder They Come.)

It quickly becomes clear that D. simply isn't very wise, and the entire plot is based around his poor decision-making. (You almost want the bad guys to win just to stop D. from inflicting any more damage on the people around him.) The "sound clash" subplot provides some cool music, but it's all based on coincidence. What are the odds that D. would just happen to run into a "sound clash" crew that could help him sell his drugs? What are the odds that he'd be carrying a suitcase full of records from Jamaica? Other elements likewise don't quite add up, and this potentially fascinating movie ultimately feels like a disappointment.

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