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  • 3 out of 5 stars
©Alex BaileyYardie de Idris Elba

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Idris Elba’s directorial debut is an atmospheric gangster thriller with a crate-load of infectious tunes

Idris Elba’s directorial debut gets off to an atmospheric start in ’70s Jamaica. The sun is shining but the kids’ smiles don’t last for long: gang wars cause fatalities, and disillusionment comes fast for protagonist Dennis, AKA ‘D’. Grown up and now played by Aml Ameen, D is sent to London with a package of cocaine, but ends up on the wrong side of local criminals when he fails to hand it over to Rico (Stephen Graham).

It’s one of many perplexing decisions that makes D a hard man to root for. Ostensibly looking for revenge, his motivations are often muddy, and Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), the mother of his child, gets the worst of it. That said, Ameen has presence and there are bursts of drama in the story, based on Victor Headley’s novel. A few more darkly comic moments wouldn’t have hurt, but what Elba does beautifully is capture a sense of place and time, from 1970s Kingston to 1980s Hackney.

He also knows how to hire well: there’s great work from ‘Luther’ cinematographer John Conroy and likeable performances from supporting actors such as Calvin Demba, who plays a DJ called Sticks (it’s telling that one of Elba’s most sympathetic characters is a DJ, his other career). ‘Yardie’ may not stand up to a second watch, but it has an initial impact on the big screen; not least thanks to an infectious, evocative soundtrack. n Anna Smith

Written by
Anna Smith

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 24 August 2018
  • Duration:101 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Idris Elba
  • Cast:
    • Aml Ameen
    • Stephen Graham
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