Gone Too Far!
- Nikki Baughan
- 6 October 2014
Bola Agbaje's adaptation of her own play takes a fresh, funny look at race relations and youth culture
On an estate in South-East London teenager Yemi (Malachi Kirby) awaits the arrival of his prodigal older brother Iku (OC Ukeje) from their native Nigeria. When Iku turns up, however, Yemi is embarrassed by his sibling's loud, proud African personality as well as his appearance, 'You look like you just got off the boat,' he scoffs. It's soon apparent why Yemi feels this way; the estate is inhabited by youngsters from African and Caribbean backgrounds, and clear verbal battle-lines have been drawn between them.
While it’s certainly social commentary, Gone Too Far is also a breath of fresh air in the often stifling stable of British sociorealism. There are undeniably powerful issues at play here: the story revolves around the simmering race relations and gang culture that underscore life in some corners of multicultural London. But, in adapting her own play for director Destiny Ekaragha, screenwriter Bola Agbaje has kept the tone upbeat, focusing on universal elements of modern youth culture – the street slang, the fashion, the music – rather than the male posturing and unbridled violence that many of her contemporaries seem to favour. As such, the film’s message of finding the courage to stay true to yourself is delivered with a refreshing lightness of touch.
That Gone Too Far succeeds so well is also thanks to its enthusiastic young cast. Stand out performances come from Kirby and Ukeje as the warring brothers, whose clashing personalities neatly encapsulate the issues of identity and family at the heart of this story, and from Tosin Cole, who showcases excellent comic timing as the loud-mouthed Razer.
By effectively wrangling the talents of her actors, the witty, knowing tone of Agbaje's screenplay and her Peckham location, filmmaker Ekaragha has created a low budget gem that intelligently speaks to the urban experience without resorting to cliché, misery or melodrama.
Limited release from Fri 10 Oct.