Gone Too Far (tbc)

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Review byKatherine McLaughlin18/01/2014

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

An upbeat and smart British comedy set on a council estate in Peckham which follows two estranged brothers around for the day, as they search for some okra.

What’s it all about?
Teenager Yemi is primed for the arrival of his brother Iku from Nigeria whom he hasn’t seen since he was three years old. When the two meet, Yemi is at first both embarrassed and confused by his brother’s appearance, mannerisms and pride in his cultural heritage. The two then spend the day wandering round Peckham on the hunt for some okra for their mum, getting to know one another and getting into trouble.

The Good
The pairing of bright spark and Olivier award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje with the skilled hand of director Destiny Ekaragha (who utilises long shots and aerial camerawork to great effect) delivers both a refreshing and promising film. Themes of racial identity are twinned with those of coming of age, dealing with issues that ring true without laying it on too heavily, and the result is part Grange Hill part Shakespearian tragicomedy.

There are smarts in the simplicity and structure of this screenplay, with focus on the two brothers who are struggling to make sense of one other and their surroundings, and the audience is tugged between sympathy for the endearing Iku (played by the charming O.C. Ukeje) and Yemi’s adolescent anxieties. Light is also thrown on racial prejudice through bickering and teasing between African, Caribbean and Indian characters.

Adapted from Agbaje’s debut play, this film takes on a theatre like form, with quirky flourishes such as the actors throwing shapes at random moments and really using their physicality in their performances. One of the best scenes consists of a brilliantly written face-off between Yemmi and love interest Armani, who call one another out on their hypocrisy; Ekaragha sets this up on a circular council estate playground with her players using the space superbly whilst the local kids watch on in awe, and the location shooting in Peckham adds to the charm. All the actors turn in great performances but O.C Ukeje, Malachi Kirby and Adelayo Adedaye are especially good.

The Bad
Some of the characters are over-exaggerated, including a teenage girl aspiring to be a law enforcer who takes her job as a security warden at her father’s shop a little too seriously, and the comedy is a little too on the nose at times, but there is also real promise on show here.

Worth seeing?
Gone Too Far! is a positive and illuminating comedy laced with sharp wit, making it an amiable affair and marking out both screenwriter, Bola Agbaje, and director, Destiny Ekaragha, as talents to watch. Brava to this female duo!

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Content updated: 25/05/2019 06:17

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