Mangrove (2020) Review

The true story of the Mangrove Nine who clashed with police in London in 1970. The trail which followed and for the first time addressed the racial hatred that came from within the Metropolitan Police which would eventually be acknowledged by the judge.


The film is shown at a very good pace which keeps you interested from start to finish. Going from the riots and the horrible police treatment of the black people within this area in London around Notting Hill. The trial scenes were extremely powerful and this is something that is very important to see. Lives were torn apart by the treatment and to see changes after the nine arrested took a stand was fantastic to witness.

PC Pulley was a horrendous character and fully made me make the comparison to the police that we witnessed in Detroit. Certainly the same horrible idea around thinking he was better than everyone else because of the colour of his skin. It was so easy to hate him and wanting to see him pay for his actions. Every time he was on screen I found myself getting more annoyed and angry with him, I always feel worse when something like this comes from the police as they are supposed to protect people not tear them down.

It turns out to be a very powerful courtroom drama and I always find myself fully engaged in the tense atmosphere. The nine who were on trial were not going to make it easy to just find them guilty. With two of them representing themselves in order to cross examine the witnesses this was always going to give extra edge. This therefore turned out to be truly inspiring.

I personally feel one of the most shocking things about watching Mangrove is actually having no idea that this actually happened. That was something that I could not get away from at all, I had no idea at all about this horrendous incident and how bad things were in England. I guess that shows a little bit of naivety on my part but also highlights exactly why this film was made. To raise awareness and show history of black people within the United Kingdom.

Mangrove is part of a series of five different films all together until the Small Axe name by Steve McQueen to raise awareness of the treatment of black people within the UK. This was not something that I had ever known much about in all honesty, which I guess shows a lot of flaws within the history we are taught not only in school but in general society as well.

In terms of performances they are all top quality with the material. Standouts in my opinion had to be Shaun Parkes, Letitia Wright and Malachi Kirby. They were more in the leading roles and had more screen time out of the nine who were on trial. Each giving truly emotional and amazing performances. This was a true joy to watch as the passion was brought out in the best possible manner. Parkes was given probably the toughest role in terms of acting, as he was given so many scenes where his actions had to speak instead of words and that is such amazing acting. Kirby was given some amazing speeches and opportunities within the court scenes to really nail his performance. With this in mind and thinking of the performances I also feel I have to mention Sam Spruell, because that is not an easy type of role to take on and given the pure hatred I felt towards his character that has to be a signal of an impressive performance. Alex Jennings had good presence as the Judge as well.

Powerful, hard-hitting and very important.

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