Sat | Sep 23, 2017

They say...

Published:Sunday | June 26, 2016 | 6:12 PM

They say...

Director/writer, Mary Wells, brings us a taste of Jamaica, not the Jamaica of the Caribbean Paradise holiday. Instead, its set in sprawling urban downtown Kingston, where gun battles are often a kind of early morning alarm, and brushing your teeth and having a shower in an out house, isn't far from the norm. Rocksy (Christopher 'Johnny' Daley) is a naive hustler come taxi driver, making more money selling condoms and phone cards than driving his cab.

He is caught between his dreams of making it 'big' and the harsh realities of slum living. He lives with and is a hopeless pimp to a feisty prostitute, Rosie (Camille Small) and they both dream of escaping life in the ghetto. Wells uses a painting of a beach in paradise to take us on a journey of possibilities. Will Rocksy and Rosie get out, or will their lives spin into unending chaos?

The film is a mix of harsh realism with a good dose of humour, a tiny bit of magical realism and lots of unpretentious action. If you live in any city in the world, you will recognise the struggles of ordinary people, not victims of their circumstances, but hero's battling to set themselves free and perhaps find peace and call themselves 'somebody'. This film makes us understand the realities and the stark choices that face poor people.

The story is energetic with lots of twists, turns and night time car chases and an easy to follow plot. The complexities come in the well drawn characters and what they do to survive and perhaps overcome their circumstances. All this is against the canvas of real, gritty downtown Kingston. It's great entertainment and although the politics are clear, they are not overbearing. For the most part, the performances are great. An extra here or there, doesn't distract from crazy adventures that manages to make you laugh and cry gently.