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Idris Elba directs Jamaica crime drama

Kam Williams

Dennis “D” Campbell (Aml Ameen) had the misfortune of growing up in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970s at a time when the ’hood was infested with drugs. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by an older brother he admired, Jerry (Everaldo Creary).

Besides serving as a surrogate father, Jerry was a peacemaker who risked his life pressuring the gangs ruining the community to end their bloody turf war. But D was left traumatized at 13 when his sibling was senselessly shot dead by Clancy (Raheem Edwards), a young member of the Tappa crew.

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Fast forward a half-dozen years and we find D doing the bidding of King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd), the leader of Spicer, Tappa’s rival gang. When he is asked to smuggle a kilo of cocaine on a plane bound for London, he leaps at the opportunity, because not only does Clancy live there now, but so too does Dennis’ daughter (Myla-Rae Hutchinson-Dunwell). So, the risky assignment affords him an opportunity to avenge his brother’s murder while reuniting with loved ones.

That is the intriguing set up of “Yardie,” a coming-of-age drama marking the noteworthy directorial debut of Idris Elba. Adapted from Victor Headley’s 1992 novel of the same name, the film is narrated by its intrepid protagonist, a conflicted soul eternally torn between good and evil.

A gritty tale of survival slightly marred by a tendency to telegraph its punches.

If you go

Yardie: Very Good (3 stars)

Running Time: 101 minutes

Production Companies: Warp Films / BFI Film Fund / Studio Canal

Distributor: Rialto Pictures

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