Directed by Jordan McGibney
Starring Jordan Smith, Luke McGibney, Kyle Turlunch, & Noor Lawson
Review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
Set against a dark urban city background, Stereotype revolves around a young teenage boy, Leroy (Jordan Smith), who has to come to terms with the loss his brother to a knife attack. In a very violent display of racism, a gang of white racists manipulate a mentally challenged man called Judas (Luke McGibney) to stab Leroy's brother Dez (Kyle Turlunch), in what comes across as a sort of sick way to get further kicks out of their attack, especially as Dez cared for Judas.
Watching the hurt and disruption that his brother’s death has caused his family, Leroy sets to take matters into his own hands. In order to achieve his aims, Leroy is confronted by a gang leader to take revenge. Alongside the pressure of media and his own conscious, eventually Leroy decides to go out into the night and seek on Judas’s pregnant girlfriend, Tracy (Noor Lawson), creating moral choices that he must confront.
At the centre of the film is the idea of morality and the power that stereotyping can hold. Add this to the theme of knife crime and loss, we are left with a storyline designed to challenge an audience's views on urban ethnic minority youth. As a result, the film does a powerful job of highlighting the painful consequences of knife crime. I don’t know whether it’s the swelling music, intense themes or the sheer emotion which pours from each of the actors, but it is impossible to not sit and watch this film without feeling that intensity. The audience’s own judgements and views of stereotypes guide them to what they think the outcome will be.
Not only is this a highly emotive film, it is also a film with a cause as it is being supported by several bodies trying to pave a better way for young people; Made Corrections, Stretch and The Kiyan Prince Foundation, all of which are charities that mainly work with young people and ex-offenders. Some of the young people these organisations work with have experienced the type of circumstances like those displayed in the film. As well as this, the film is apparently being donated to these charities to be used in workshops over the next year, Dean Stalham Founder of Made Corrections said, “The film is a marvellous achievement and a film that we can use to challenge mindsets”.
Director Jordan McGibney managed to bring his own personal experiences into the film, as he himself grew up in a council estate and experienced what it’s like to live in these rough settings. When asked about his motives in making a film like this, McGibney said, “It is never black or white, in my experience the situations are complex and are not the stereotype clichés that we see in many films today”.
Overall, this film is wonderfully made, highly emotive and has a clear message about looking into the power of choice. It is obvious that it has been designed to be provocative and make you squirm in your seat in order to create the intended dialogue, mainly the issues of knife crime, the dangers of stereotyping and the power of morality and choice.
This film will premiere at The British Urban Film Festival on the 21st September 2015.