When I first heard about this film, I was like…OK, here we go again…yet another Black British gang film, showing us what we already know, that our society has a knife and gang culture problem. I’m sure we’ve all seen the films before that showcase the out of control teenager that ends up in a gang, it’s usually a stereotypical Black boy from a single parent family who has no time for their kids as they are too busy either working or portrayed as some kind of addict, who is dealing with their own demons and a drug or drink problem.
But on seeing the trailer for Yes Man, I realised this had a different narrative altogether and decided to give it a watch.
Darrell, an intern at a corporate company does not buy into the white-collar culture of ‘going along to get along’. He chooses to surround himself amongst a few bad apples. Darrell finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. The advice given to him by Ben, a violent group leader, keeps him narrow-minded about his environment until his friend Ryan, an intelligent hustler with dreams of opening a restaurant, shows Darrell to think about what he wants for his future.
See the trailer for yourself…
Firstly, I must say, Kieton Saunders-Browne, who plays Darrell, is a really talented actor, who can portray so many emotions without even saying a word, he’s so good!
I like that the plot made it clear that he lived with 2 concerned and loving parents, although he still ended up in a gang, the media likes to send make out that most, if not all gang members come from a ‘broken homes’/’Single Parent Families‘, and this film shows that this is not necessarily the case.
During the film, which is directed by Daniel Glenn-Barbour, I found myself, wanting to him to give up this gang lifestyle and give the corporate world another try, albeit with another company with less rude colleagues that we witness him working with at the beginning of the film.
fresh out of prison, Darrell is the ‘Yes Man‘ of the gang, and does anything to please gang leader, Ben, who abuses and bullies him and other members of the group, he is quite intimidating, which frustrates Ryan, who tries to persuade Darrell, that he has choices and doesn’t need to live this lifestyle.
I felt like we got to know Darrell, but it would have been nice to have learnt more in depth about his relationship with his parents , we see a lovely moment between Darrell and his Dad, but his mum, who made all the ultimate decisions, tried to teach him right from wrong with “tough love” and a scene with Darrell and his mum would have been amazing and given us (the viewer) more context in the way she behaved and the tough decisions she made as a mother.
Like his parents, Ryan, although a fellow gang member, he expressed that this was means to an end, and that he had dreams beyond this lifestyle, and would be getting out as soon as he had enough money and pursuing his dreams of becoming a chef.
The film is a good pace and has some violent fight moments, but I loved the way it was filmed with out any actual showing of a knife or any actual stabbing, it’s just implied, which I found to be much less gruesome and watchable than those films who try to glorify the act of knife crime.
A great film depicting the current gang and drugs culture we have in the UK, particularly in London, and I’m sure it will educate some young people not to pursue this lifestyle and hopefully those who are already involved, realise they do have options.
Yes Man will be available on Digital Download from 13th June
Enjoy and Thanks for reading!