Idris Elba Makes Directorial Debut with Jamaican Coming-of-Age Drama

Dennis “D.” Campbell (Aml Ameen) had the misfortune of growing up in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica in the ’70s at a time when the island’s capital was infested with drugs. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by an older brother he admired, Jerry (Everaldo Creary).

Besides serving as a surrogate father, Jerry was a peacemaker who risked his life pressuring the gangs who were ruining the community to end their bloody turf war. But Dennis was left traumatized at age 13 when his sibling was senselessly shot dead by Clancy (Raheem Edwards), a young member of the Tappa crew.

Fast forward a half-dozen years and we find D. doing the bidding of King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd), the leader of Spicer, Tappa’s rival gang. When he is asked to smuggle a kilo of cocaine on a plane bound for London, he leaps at the opportunity because not only does Clancy live there now, but so too does Dennis’ daughter (Myla-Rae Hutchinson-Dunwell). So, the risky assignment will afford him an opportunity to avenge his brother’s murder while reuniting with loved ones.

That is the intriguing set up of Yardie, a coming-of-age drama marking the noteworthy directorial debut of Idris Elba. Adapted from Victor Headley’s 1992 novel of the same name, the film is narrated by its intrepid protagonist—a conflicted soul eternally torn between good and evil—and is a gritty tale of survival slightly marred by a tendency to telegraph its punches.

Very Good (3 stars) — Unrated — Running time: 101 minutes — Production Companies: Warp Films / BFI Film Fund / Studio Canal — Distributor: Rialto Pictures

KAM’S KAPSULES: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening March 22, 2019

WIDE RELEASES

Us (R for violence, terror, and profanity) Jordan Peele wrote and directed this suspense thriller, set in Santa Cruz, about a vacationing family that finds itself haunted by identical strangers. Co-starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Anna Diop.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Dragged Across Concrete (R for profanity, sexuality, nudity, grisly images, and graphic violence) Action thriller about a couple of cops (Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn) who turn to a life of crime after being suspended without pay for police brutality caught on camera. With Don Johnson, Fred Melamed, Michael Jai White, and Jennifer Carpenter.

El Chicano (Unrated) Crime saga, set in East L.A., about twins (Raul Castillo) who choose to live their lives on opposite sides of the law. Cast includes Jose Pablo Cantillo, Aimee Garcia, and Marlene Forte.

Hotel Mumbai (R for profanity, bloody images, and pervasive violence) Fact-based drama recounting the 2008 terrorist attack at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel by radical Islamists which claimed 174 innocent lives. Co-starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Amandeep Singh, and Jason Isaacs. (In English, Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Greek, Russian, Arabic, Urdu, and Persian with subtitles)

Maze (Unrated) Historical drama, set in Northern Ireland in 1983, recreating the infamous jailbreak of 38 IRA members from a maximum security prison. Ensemble cast includes Barry Ward, Martin McCann, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Eileen Walsh, and Aaron Monaghan.

Ramen Shop (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama revolving around a grief-stricken young chef (Takumi Saitoh) who travels from Japan to Singapore in search of his late parents’ recipes only to also uncover some deep family secrets. With Seiko Matsuda, Jeanette Aw, and Tsuyoshi Ihara. (In Japanese, Mandarin, and English with subtitles)

Sunset (R for violence) Character-driven drama, set in 1913, about a young woman (Juli Jakab) who ventures to Budapest hoping to secure a job at the hat store once owned by her late parents, only to be turned away by the shop’s new owner (Vlad Ivanov). Cast includes Susanne Wuest, Bjorn Freiberg, and Urs Rechn. (In Hungarian and German with subtitles)

Trading Paint (R for profanity) Action adventure about a legendary father (John Travolta) and son (Toby Sebastian) car racing team who end up facing each other in a high-stakes contest following a falling out. With Shania Twain, Michael Madsen, and Kevin Dunn.

Triple Threat (R for profanity and pervasive, graphic violence) Action thriller about three down-and-out mercenaries (Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Tiger Chen) recruited to protect a billionaire heiress (Celina Jade) from a team of professional assassins (Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, and Michael Bisping) hired to take her out. Supporting cast includes Michael Wong, Daniel Whyte, and Selina Lo. (In English, Mandarin, and Thai with subtitles)

Top 10 DVD Releases for March 19, 2019

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  2. Mary Poppins Returns
  3. The Last Resort
  4. The Rundown
  5. PawParazzi
  6. Accident
  7. The Quake
  8. She Wolf
  9. Ritual
  10. Big Kill

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