Yardie is a crime film focusing on Dennis “D” Campbell, (Aml Ameen), as he deals with his brother’s death and begins a quest to find those responsible; so far so generic. I wish I could say it gets better from there– it doesn’t. Yardie marks the direction debut of Idris Elba; this prospect made the hopeful for the film.
However, though the film itself is well-directed everything else is just bland, making this film a huge disappointment. Narratively the film is contrived with there being a plethora of redundant character choices. Namely shown when D has to leave Jamaica because he is about to start a gang war, how, is never really explained. The same applies to other parts of the film, such as when one of the rival gangsters kidnaps D’s daughter, only to then give her back; maybe 10 minutes later. Ultimately the narrative leaves you going, “wait what”, a lot more than it should.
Furthermore, from the trailers of Yardie, I believed there was at least an element of character study to the film, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The characters are all incredibly underdeveloped, with there being nothing to set them apart from characters in any other crime film. Even the protagonist D is boring, easily replaceable and not so easily remembered.
The most egregious flaw of the film is that it has no edge, it plays it safe, perhaps too much, even being overly sentimental at times. I believe the film tries to use this sentimentality in place of actual emotional resonances which, if true, shows almost a misunderstanding of the genre.
Furthermore, the constant slip in accent that some of the characters have is laughable, but it is not meant to be.
To conclude, the problem with Yardie is just how boring and forgettable it is, though there are some small positives, Yardie is a film that you would turn off halfway through if you were watching it at home.
Reviewed by Luke