Thursday, 14 July 2016
1 Day (4 Stars)
"My generation don't believe in the church thing, we believe in the big bang".
This is a powerful film about the street gangs of Birmingham. When it was released in 2009 it wasn't shown in Birmingham cinemas because of fears that it would incite gang violence. That was a strange thing to do, because it was shown in neighbouring towns like Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The film shows a young man called Flash who's looking after £500,000 for a fellow gang member, Angel, while he's in prison. Angel is released earlier than expected and asks for his money back, but Flash has been investing the money in drug deals and is £100,000 short. Angel tells him that if he doesn't repay him by midnight he'll kill Flash and all his family.
Beneath the surface, "1 Day" is film about a generation without hope. The older generation of Caribbean immigrants in Birmingham cling to religion as a way of life. Their children and grandchildren have no belief in a higher power, so they rely on money and guns. The church keeps its doors open, but the younger generation stays away.
Not many films are made in Birmingham. It's fascinating for me to be able to identify buildings that I know well. There's the Bull Ring shopping centre, the Pallasades and the Dale End car park. I also recognise the small church in Handsworth. I walked past it dozens of times when I went to catch the bus on Soho Road. The familiarity makes the film special to me.