Small Axe : Red, White and Blue

Small Axe S01E03 is part of the Small Axe anthology film series directed by the award-winning director Steve McQueen. The anthology consists of five films which tell distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London. Entitled “Red, White and Blue”, Small Axe S01E03 tells the true story of Leroy Logan, one of the first police constables of West Indian descent, back in the 1980s.

The setup of the story is compelling and intriguing. When Logan decided to join the Metropolitan Police Force, his father had been beaten up by two policemen for alleging resisting arrest. Obviously, Logan’s father was opposed to him becoming a policeman and this opposition fuelled Logan’s determination to make a difference in the police force, despite the challenges.

And of course, the obstacles are fairly predictable and typical. Logan faces racism and discrimination within the police force itself – being passed over unfairly for promotion and not being supported by his colleagues when requiring back-up on duty. All these circumstances tested Logan’s commitment to the cause – to represent his community in the police force so that his people would have a voice. The film has an ambiguous ending even though in real life, Logan rose through the ranks and did achieve what he had set out to do – make a difference.

John Boyega captures Logan’s characterisation perfectly. There is pride blended in with resentment behind Boyega’s beady eyes as he faces down prejudice – either from his colleagues or even from his father. It isn’t easy when someone is determined to act as a bridge between two warring sides – you are bound to be walked over constantly in the process.

When one considers the dilemma late enforcement has with dealing with its racist elements, it might be worse in the UK as this is an issue that is regularly swept under the carpet. Small Axe S01E03 “Red, White and Blue” is as strong as “Mangrove” was and miles better than the esoteric “Lovers Rock”. Highly recommended.

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