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

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.