One Mile Away

"Excellent"

One Mile Away Review


For this documentary about gang rivalry, filmmaker Penny Woolcock returns to the setting of her 2009 rap musical 1 Day and finds a story that's even more powerful than the first time around. For this exploration of the feuding gangs in Birmingham - the Burgers and the Johnsons - Woolcock centres on one man from each side who has dedicated himself to finding a route to peace between the gangs. It's an extraordinarily simple approach, and profoundly involving.

Since members of the two gangs can't be seen to be talking to each other, Woolcock arranges for them to meet in a hotel safely out of view. Everyone is so paranoid that it will be a miracle if anything changes, but they have to be like this to survive. Dylan, who starred in 1 Day, is from the Burgers, and he quickly finds high-profile support in his neighbourhood for his work to bring the city together. By contrast, Snabba spends nearly a year talking to members of the Johnsons before he finds one person who is willing to join with him.

As in 1 Day, Woolcock uses the local music to add textures to the situations, often re-enacting shootings and narrow escapes in the rappers' songs. She covers a full year in the city starting in autumn 2010 when official statistics recorded an average of three gun crimes per day among the gangs. And it ends with the August 2011 riots, which Woolcock captures from an angle we never saw in the news. Skilfully shot and edited, the film follows the likeable, charismatic Dylan and Snabba into some startlingly tense situations as they meet with friends and rivals. Wollcock also talks to tough guys who are nervous about the constant threat of violence around them.

Everyone on screen has a forceful, memorable personality, often with a lively sense of humour and real artistic gifts. So it's haunting that none of these people knows why the gangs are locked in this deadly battle. Back in 1985, everyone banded together against a common enemy: the racist police force. But now it's a pointless tribal war based on pride and revenge. And as Woolcock digs into the causes behind black-on-black violence, what she discovers is revelatory. It's no wonder that these people feel so desperate when police, bankers and politicians make it clear every day that they don't care about them. So should we be surprised if they team up again one day to fight back?

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th March 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: James Purnell

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.