Review: Guerrilla

Blu-ray: Guerrilla (2017)

Jas (Freida Pinto) and Marcus (Babou Ceesay) are lovers who half-arsedly support black power and immigrant causes but haven’t actually DONE anything. This attitude changes when a black friend of theirs is killed by the police and they finally commit to becoming ‘real’ revolutionary activists by busting a noted radical, Dhari (Nathaniel Martello-White), out of prison.

John Ridley, lauded for writing ’12 Years a Slave’, wrote ‘Guerrilla’ as a microstudy of radicalism in Britain in the early 1970s (let’s not forget he’s also responsible for the new Ben Hur).

This six-part series isn’t an easy watch. I found myself wandering during the first episode as it was a little too intense. By that I mean it was – if anything, it took itself so very seriously and was ‘hard hitting’ that I admit to feeling a little bored, and not in the least bit entertained. So I knew I’d have to watch episode 2 with a bit of a heavy heart. However, I’m delighted to say that although that ‘heaviness’ remains, I found myself becoming invested in the story (and I admit I know absolutely NOTHING about Black politics/causes).

You are plunged into a world of revolutionary causes that isn’t defined by grand speeches and heroic defiance, but rather by infighting, romantic entanglements, and people being general self-obsessed pains in the arse. This is a story of jumbled up causes, ineffectual voices, and messily planned assaults on the establishment.

There is of course, looking at the cast, some great acting in this TV show, Pinto and Denise Gough being standouts. Gough’s character, an Irishwoman whose boyfriend’s death sets the chain of events in motion, and her psychological war with a police officer (Daniel Mays) who presses her to become an informant is the most riveting relationship in the series. The ever watchable Idris Elba (swoon) plays a character with questionable loyalties as… Idris Elba (who cares, yummy).

The final throes are quite riveting, as the police close in on Jas and Marcus as they are planning a major event; a bombing that they hope will strike at the very heart of the police unit that is tracking them, resonating somewhat with the events of past weeks in London and Manchester. A solidly good series, a hard start but stick with it for major rewards, including a shock ending!

Guerrilla will be available to buy from 19th June, 2017.

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes with) from discs kindly supplied by Aim Publicity.