A Trip to 1971 with Idris Elba, Babou Ceesay, Freida Pinto and the Guerrillas

Apparently, it is TV season because everywhere I look, a new show is popping up. I don’t remember exactly when I saw the trailer for Guerrilla but I put it in my calendar/to do list. It’s set in 1971 and it follows a bunch of ethnic minorities in their fight against racism in the UK. I always find that what shows in the UK lack in a budget, they always make up for with the depth of the story line. I don’t mean things like Eastenders, Coronation Street or Emmerdale. I mean proper network TV shows.

If you know me, you know I don’t deal with horror, medieval stuff (that includes game of thrones) or any kind of Science Fiction (I’m here for comic book adaptations though). There is something I like about watching things that make people uncomfortable. Things to do with Slavery, racism, the holocaust, the mafia, gangland etc. so this was right up my street.

The story centres around a young black man called Marcus and his girlfriend Jas (played by Freida Pinto aka Freida baby). Marcus can’t get a job he wants and Jas is a nurse during the day and trouble maker at night. They’re basically both dealing with racism. Their friend in Prison can’t catch a break and his numerous parole hearings always deny him a chance at freedom. Marcus and Jas get into it with a special police force created to police the bleks. I spelled black in the like that because that’s how a South African with an Afrikaans accent will pronounce it. Why is that relevant? Well because this special force was brought in from South Africa to deal with black people so you can imagine the disdain with which they treat black people.

Marcus and his babe are sick of the brutality and plan a protest march where one of their friends literally got his face smashed in. This incenses Jas who’s had enough and has the bright idea to break their mate out of Prison. She forces Marcus into this plan and initially even seeks help from one of her ex’s played by Idris Elba. I’ll stop there so I don’t give the whole plot away.

On the side of the white people, there is the police chief who I believe is also South African who is a racist piece of scum. Surprise surprise, he has him a black side piece (I think said side piece is a prostitute. Not sure though) who bore him a little negro baby. We find out later on when he gets home and puts on his ring that he is married. It reminded me of the last scene in season 1, episode 1 of Mad Men when Don gets home and we find out he’s married after philandering for the whole day only that this guy looks more like the prison warden in prison break season 1 than Don Draper.

I thought this show was one where I’d love it from the first second. It didn’t turn out like that. I’m not sure if it is because I started watching it at midnight when I should have been in bed or if it just doesn’t have that wow factor. I’m trying to find something to criticise but I just can’t put my finger on it. I like the story it is trying to tell but some how, I don’t believe that Jas, Marcus and their cronies are believable or will make it to the front page news. They seem more like Guerrillas than Black Panthers. I just realised what I did there and maybe the story they’re trying to convey isn’t one where ethnic minorities form an organised resistance to the authorities. Maybe it’s about a bunch of rabble rousers causing a storm in a tea cup. If that’s their aim then I guess it’s mission accomplished.


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