Socialist Worker

South West Nine: No picture of Brixton I know

by Theresa Bennett
Issue No. 1772

THERE IS so much that a film that is set in Brixton, south London, could possibly explore. But South West Nine presents a picture of life that doesn't reflect the real experience of the area and consists of a range of cliches.

All the features that distinguish the area, like the dramatic influences of waves of immigration and the cultural melting pot, are reduced to caricatures. The film shows snapshot footage of the Brixton riots of 1991, and the first black immigrants of the 1950s and 60s. But these events are not looked at in any depth, and the film doesn't capture or hold your interest.

Anarchists are presented as middle class Oxford University dropouts slumming it in Brixton. Other characters are wideboys ducking and diving or on a scam. South West Nine is a film dominated by drugs, while somehow managing to say nothing interesting about them. Loads of people are featured using or dealing, but you never know how or why the characters came to be taking or dealing drugs.

And by having loads of ringing mobile phones in the movie the makers have managed to make them even more annoyingly intrusive in fiction than they can be in reality. All style and no substance is how I would sum South West Nine up.

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Sat 27 Oct 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1772
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