Television has the power to break traditional molds of storytelling and shine a light on different perspectives in the same story. âThe Wireâ takes this ability to its extreme, as each season refocuses the narrative by focusing on a new institution, while keeping the core set and the storyline going. Amazon Prime’s anthology series “Small Ax” takes a similar approach to its hardware, albeit in a much shorter time frame.
Originating from legendary filmmaker Steven McQueen (“12 Years of Slave”, “Hunger” and “Shame”), the series presents five films that highlight key moments in African American political and cultural history. While the film’s stories are all unique and do not connect with each other, each revolves around similar thematic discussions of the disparaging impacts of discrimination on generational development. Each of the five projects is captivating on their own, but they work even better when viewed one after the other.
The first film, “Mangrove” follows a landmark 1971 court case in which British courts unfairly ruled that racism existed on both sides of a violent raid on a peaceful black-owned restaurant. “Lovers Rock” is an expressive party film that follows romance amid reggae celebration, told in the style of French New Wave cinema.
âRed, White, and Blueâ presents John Boyega’s best career performance as a troubled black cop who faces internal suppression. “Alex Wheatle” stars Sheyi Cole as a man adjusting to post-prison life. âEducationâ details the flaws of the school system, as black children are viewed as âsubnormalâ and subject to ineffective resources, mentorship, and emotional guidance.