As a British South London black girl who is VERY proud of being working class ‘Bullet Boy’ is extremely close to my heart. I decided to study cinema as it tells the tales of human behaviour and life under different circumstances through visual story telling not just words. Bullet Boy is very close to home cinema speak to see on screen. BBC Films even funding this is a great sign of life outside Hollywood in film. Black British working class politics and social conscious is brought to the big screen finally in completely unique fashion by Saul Dibb and Catherine Johnson, and stars Ashley Walters and lead youth.
‘Bullet Boy‘ addresses lots of inner city social economics, race and youth of life as a black young male in London. Ashley Walters plays Ricky a young man who has served some prison time for mistakes made through a stabbing earlier in life due to the harsh environment of his life on a council estate in South London. It’s here to really point out that while ‘Bullet Boy’ successfully highlights the problems of black working class life and male youth on council estates, this is not a tale which depicts every day life for all young black men or ethnic minority on London council estates. It’s an honest tale but not fact or fiction for those from similar backgrounds. Such is the reason for dramatic story telling to begin with about life.
Crime as an area to survive life is an interesting topic. From a girl committing some bizarre fashion fraud on e-bay to the full blown gangs and Mafia of Italian NYC to South London gangs is complicated to explore morally in film. Especially with individual characters such as Ricky. He is a far as audiences are shown a boy who wanted to be independent, look after himself and his single mother and brother. His choices in which to do so were not the education into city office but the street which can be financially faster even if more violent long run. After his return from prison home he has had the personal self growth that prison is apparently supposed to provide and plans to change his ways and develop a new life. However things have not changed where he grew up and goes home to concerning local environment and he is remembered too well.
‘Bullet Boy’ is and was always an important film to be made. Not just for the potential growth of ethnic British Cinema like ‘East is East'(1999) was but also for talking about the very real circumstances that lie behind the everyday news pieces which are shown on 6pm News surrounding London gang related violence. It depicts a very sincere lead character in unfortune rather than the scary young ethnic criminal often represented in mainstream news outlets daily in cities across the UK.
Von Von Lamunu