Lovers Rock REVIEW: What’s The Fuss About This Steve McQueen Film?

In Lovers Rock, Steve McQueen stays out of racial issues, to focus on young Black Londoners sweating it out on the dancefloor.

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Lovers Rock REVIEW: What’s  The Fuss About This Steve McQueen Film?

The second film in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series has been wrapped in rave reviews, with critics giving it a 5-star rating. Really?! I guess there are certain subjects and directors whose basic  reputation precedes them  into the hall of fame. When it comes to depicting the hyphenated hardships  of  the Black community in Europe  and America,Steve McQueen is next to none.

Sure enough the first film Mangrove in this anthology pulsated with racial power and cultural pride. Be  warned. The second  film in  the anthology is an extended dance party strictly for Blacks. Set in the 1980s, the  film hurls a torrent  of men, women food conversation and, most of all ,music. Deep resounding pounding and undulating songs of the era which I grew up hearing. My favourite is the 1979 Janet Kaye slow-burning floor-burner “Silly Games”. This sinfully sexy   catchy song plays in a hurl of  swaying slithering bodies moving sensuously, sometimes so  close  to one another, my breath got choked just watching the dancers on the floor.

This film does to  the track “Silly Games” what  the film Mama Mia did to the Abba song of  the same title. Steve McQueen’s camera moves in and out of the partying figures’ lives, there is  stress and  there  but nothing that  that  can’t be controlled in the confines of  the  private home far partying the night away far away from racist law enforcement agents, trying to figure out why they are so  blissful in their  time-frozen  oyster shell.

Indeed in this film McQueen  stays  out of racial issues, to focus on young Black Londoners sweating it out on  the dancefloor. Into this cauldron of a foot-tapping brew and soul-stirring gaze, we  are introduced  to  Micheal Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as Franklyn and Martha, so lost in each other that they can barely hear  the loud music. Their bodies react instinctively to the music,giving nothing away except their growing  mutual affection.

By the  time it’s morning they are  so much love that the party seems  like  a pretext  for their  mutual ardour. Steve McQueen’s camera follows Martha home. She sneaks into her bedroom and her bed ,only to hear her mother commanding her to get ready  for church.

Ah! So  the party that Martha secretly attended and where she met her new love, were held  on Saturday night.Well, all right then. Young Black people in the 1980s is  not  the same as Young people  in present times. Throwing all care and caution to the winds, the young couple  falls in love daring the protests  against their mutual feelings to begin. Until the  next dance.You wish it would never end. But then you realize McQueen  doesn’t have much story to tell here. This is his most carefree film ever. He  just wants  to have  fun with the  young  in the  1980s. The silly games are on.

Image source: IMDb