Despite its short 68-minute runtime, “Lovers Rock” is full of tactile, sensuous storytelling. The cinematography of Shabier Kirchner and McQueen’s direction turns well-choreographed dance sequences into spectacular mini-movies; You’ll find yourself asking, “Where’s the camera?” They are just as adept at articulating the connections made at the party. Although the film doesn’t always focus on them, Franklyn and Martha emerge as lovers we care about and endorse, and Ward and St. Aubyn works wonders with minimal dialogue. They work so well that when Martha gives Franklyn the number of a phone booth where she can be reached at 5 pm after church (a questionable move that even Franklyn worries about), all I can think of is is, “Man, I hope he calls and he’s there.” I’ll think about it for a while.
“Big change, it’s a slow turn of the wheel,” Kenneth tells his son in the closing scene before the two toast “something good.” Technically, this is the last line of “Small Axe,” a choice I can’t stop thinking about after seeing 60% of the series. I’m sure I’ll change my mind after seeing the other two installments. For the characters of “Red, White and Blue,” those words hold little hope, because they do not know that the situations they want to affect have not changed much today. The system may be more integrated, but it’s just as corrupt and destructive as Leroy found. The wheel of change is slow, but I think there is some comfort in knowing that it is still turning.
We never get close enough to Alex Wheatle to feel like we know him. Despite my mild dismay, I believe the distancing is on purpose, a part of the film’s design. Even after her big, emotional scene and her decision to start writing about her experiences, our heroine continues to grow, still learning who she is. He is incomplete as the film ends, and the film reflects that in its construction and execution. Cole does a good job playing these intentions, but he is overshadowed by the more interesting supporting characters. However, the questions raised here are interesting ones that we rarely see used by Black people in movies, which is important. However, as far as satisfaction is concerned, your mileage may vary.