HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Modern RomanceBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Stars: Martha Canga Antonio, Aboubakr Bensaihi, Sanâa Alaoui, Jérémy Zagba, Sanaa Bourasse, Natascha Boyamba, Soufiane Chilah, Brahim El Abdouni, Simon Frey, Faysel Ichakarene, Théo Kabeya, Eric Kabongo, Glody Lombi, Axel Masudi, Laetitia Nouhhaïdi, Ashley Nitan
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marwan (Aboubakr Bensaihi) is a teenage gang member who hangs out with his Moroccan peers and elders, getting along with them because he is willing to commit petty crimes and pass the proceeds on to them, as today, when he steals a woman's handbag from her car when she is stopped in traffic. The local police, who every gang hates in the city of Brussels, are always taking an interest and checking up on youths like him, with some more compassionate than others, such as Mina (Sanâa Alaoui), who knows very well the crimes Marwan is involved in but seems powerless to prevent him digging himself in deeper to this life of lawbreaking. But if there's one thing the gangs hate more than the cops, it's the other gangs...

That's why when we are introduced to Mavela (Martha Canga Antonio) we sense trouble in the air, not only because we start off seeing her at her worst as well. She is member of a rival gang, black African this time as opposed to the more Arabic gang that Marwan belongs to, and she is picked up by the police for shoplifting which as coincidence would have it sees her taken to the same station as Marwan, where they meet. They exchange pleasantries as they wait in the corridor, well, actually they exchange insults which pass for pleasantries for just about everyone here poses as aggressively as possible, and something between them clicks, leaving him to give her his phone number: an invitation to meet.

In secret, of course, as if they were found out by the other respective gang members they would be subjected to all sorts of violent retribution, not because they have insulted or attacked anyone, but the opposite, they fell in love. It was indicative of this toxic world directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Falah depicted that actually being nice to somebody was regarded as the worst kind of behaviour in their little strata of society, as alternatively beating someone up, or going even further in your violence, was the honourable thing to do and rewarded with respect from your gang. That the directors had researched this milieu beforehand led you to believe it was fairly accurate, and that was a problem.

The basic plot was lifted from that design classic Romeo and Juliet as you may have gathered, though not stylised as the Baz Luhrman take on the tale was, though that too made the setting street gang culture, this was more realistic if not entirely averse to falling back on melodrama. Abel Ferrara's China Girl might be a more accurate comparison, though there were examples of updates of the Shakespeare play from all over the world, and they tended to set them in locations of urban violence too. No matter where it was, this was a story that never ended well, not with these trappings at least, which could at least prompt the characters to see the error of their ways and renounce the poisonous atmosphere of their culture, which was not something you saw much of in this case.

What were we left with? A grinding yarn of crushing dejection, as if there was any hope for these people, assuming they were based on real life individuals to whatever extent, then the directors failed to find any, or nothing worth mentioning at any rate. Look at the women and girls here, having to go along with the toughest demeanour possible to survive, but that doesn't stop the threat of rape, gang rape especially, hanging over their heads when they somehow transgress the code, or even have to pay the price for someone else's unwritten rule-breaking. It got so that aside from a couple of understanding authority figures that the only instance of anyone treating anyone else with kindness or decency was when Marwan and Mavela were alone together and could express their love without fear of recriminations hanging over them, though that fear was justified. It may have been well-made, but it was deeply difficult to enjoy, leaving you wondering how helpful this was to play out these based in truth stories when there was nothing to offer succour to those of us who wanted, well, not so much a happy ending, but the feeling that there was something positive being done to save these souls who resisted even the slightest assistance. Music by Hannes de Maeyer.

BLACK is released in UK cinemas & on VOD now.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 921 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: