Brotherhood - This Movie Don't Rock This 'Hood
Dir: Noel Clarke
Starring Noel Clarke, Cornell John, Shanika Warren-Markland, Arnold Oceng, Nick Nevern
We here at LastWord caught Brotherhood at a BAFTA screening with Noel Clarke in attendance for a Q&A afterwards. The writer/director/star/producer/caterer/most likely to buy first pint after a hard day’s filming-guy talked a good talk whilst selling this third and final part of his ‘Hood trilogy.
It’s a shame then to have to admit the film overall lacked the same conviction as the man talking about it. Brotherhood is Clarke’s Godfather III, the one where his character, Sam Peele, is trying to grow up and, more importantly, grow beyond his earlier-life in West London street crime. But they keep pulling him back in!! – this time threatening to disrupt the lives of his girl and their kids, as well as the friends that have made it this far alongside him.
This is a film in which the “Hood” is as literal as it is metaphorical – as Sam returns to his old ways in order to extricate himself and his loved ones, the hoodie comes out of the wardrobe, and he symbolically pulls it over his head after every regrettable turn.
It’s an example of the balance Clarke walks in his films – commendable for getting them made, but as he freely admits himself, he has learned on the job so more often than you’d like the movie gives into a heavy handedness, propped up by genre conventions – from overt violence to frequent misogyny – that do Clarke no favours here. As a conclusion, it may well satisfy devotees, but it won’t win any new ones.
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