SMALL AXE - OPPORTUNITY MISSED?
Well, Firstly, I have so much respect for Steve McQueen, for '12 Years a Slave' alone. I had read the book and was blown away and the movie was not given a Hollywood whitewash and it was a tough watch. It was brutal, it was a vile process, it has scared black people for over 400 years. So for that movie alone Steve McQueen will always be in my hall of fame.
I tried to look at this Lovers Rock 'Blues dance' movie, from the perspective of what was it trying to tell me?. If it was trying to tell me that reggae music back then was of a very high quality, soulful, and totally delivered, then yes, it did that. However, because of it's potential to sell that element of black music, I was disappointed in so much as it did little to encourage young people today to start making reggae music of that quality.
The attempted rape - The attempted rape of a young woman was mishandled. At no point was the issue addressed, either by the young lady making a complaint or attempting to get support from one of her friends or anyone for that matter, either within the 'blues' or when she got home. Back then many young peole sneaked out of their homes to go to these blues parties, but, I still found it very unrealistic. Even if the young lady did not raise the alarm at the party or with one of her friends there, as a female, you would leg it out of there like a bat out of hell!). The guy was not identified within the film as a predator or potential rapist at all, which I can't help thinking was totally wrong on a number of levels.
The lesbian kiss, well I can live with that, but it did seem unrelated to the whole movie. I am sure it did happen but it just seemed out of place. Not because we did not have black lesbians back then, but it was unrelated to anything else in the film.
Conceptually, I feel the movie fell short because the selling point of the film was most definitely the music for me, the music was absolutely fabulous (lets not forget someone on the production team had to select the songs, so his perception of the quality of the music back then was on point) and a lovely walk down memory lane.
A massive opportunity was missed with this move in terms of who was playing reggae music live back then i.e. Aswad and the struggles they faced, how reggaue music was made back then, either in terms of being ignored by the music industry generally, or having to water down their efforts to fit in or move forward.
All of that said, the choice of music was incredible and carefully made. I would have watched the whole movie just for the music content alone.
Keep going Steve McQueen!