‘Kidulthood’s’ Aml Ameen is Dennis D Campbell, a young man living in Kingston who witnesses his DJ brother being gunned down. D is taken under the wing of record producer and local gangster King Fox (Sheldon Stewart) who sends him to Hackney, London to help run his drug business. There D encounters his childhood sweetheart Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), as well as the daughter he has never met. He also comes up against vicious London gangster, Rico (Stephen Graham).
Ameen is a charismatic enough lead, but is ill-served by an poorly realised script that rarely moves beyond the exposition-laden, and while Elba’s recreation of 80s Hackney (where he grew up) is evocative enough, and the music predictably great, the picture is not flashy and trashy enough to work as a guilty pleasure, but not attentive or curious enough to work as a social document. And Elba’s direction occasionally resorts to cliché, the most egregious example the sequence when D’s brother is slain and the protagonist falls to his knees and shouts ‘No!’ to an unforgiving sky.
Yardie is out on digital on 24th and Blu-ray and DVD on 26thDecember.