Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock ★★★★½

Lovers Rock is the second film in Steve McQueen's five-film anthology series called Small Axe, and it's a colourful and aesthetically pleasing offering with some incredible music that solidifies its tempting and observable rhythms.

The writing, from McQueen and novelist and playwriter Courttia Newlan, develops over a single evening and is a fictitious tale of young love between two partygoers at a house party in the early nineteen eighties in West London. The background era is an environment of unrest with some frictions rippling among some of the party attendees; these remain largely dormant though, and the party expands into a session of romance as the reveller's dance and gossip into the night.

There are some superb performances which dominate the film, and worth particular mention is Amarah-Jae St Aubyn as Martha, who's making her screen debut in the company of Bafta 2020 Rising Star winner Micheal Ward as Franklyn. These two characters become the films focal point of interest and Ward's performance further spotlights him as a hugely promising talent. He was the best thing about Rapman's crime drama Blue Story, and he radiates a great deal of charisma in his role here.

A large majority of the films taut runtime is committed to a highly contagious atmosphere of customary partying, and the needle drop followed by an extended acapella performance of Janet Kay's Silly Games as well as a scene built around the impossible to resist Kunta Kinte Dub by The Revolutionaries are genuinely phenomenal.

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