Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
I was introduced to the work of Jamaican writer/director Storm Saulter with 2018 sports drama Sprinter, and I was quite impressed with his work. And I was even more impressed by his 2011 crime drama Better Mus’ Come.
The film is set in Jamaica in the 1970s when political division has resulted in borders and gang violence. In this tumultuous time a young gang leader struggles to raise his son and falls for a young woman from a rival community.
I have seen my fair share of Caribbean gangster flicks and most fall squarely in the categories of generic and uninspired. But Saulter’s vision (he also doubles as director of photography) and directing skill evolves the genre into a work of art.
The politics may be the source of the violence, and Saulter does use it as a framing device, but the director is more concerned with the impact on the impoverished people. The exploitation and manipulation by political forces leads to lack and wanton violence.
Our hero Ricky (Sheldon Shepherd) is a principled man who tries to make an honest living but is driven to crime and violence by circumstance. You root for him throughout though you fear his story will not end well. And speaking of violence, Saulter presents it raw and gritty. There is no glorification here but we are witnesses to the horrors.
The acting all has an air of authenticity and the visuals range from cinema verite to gloriously stylised. Add to that a riveting, unflinching script and you have a triumph of a film.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out if 10
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Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.