Adapted from Bola Agbaje’s Olivier award winning play, Gone Too Far! is a hilarious and shrewdly observed comedy with a storyline you can relate to and truthfully depicted characters.
The film is set in vibrant and culturally diverse Peckham, south London. The plot follows young teenager Yemi, born and brought up in Britain and obsessed with his street cred, and his estranged brother Iku, an excitable and proud Nigerian who is new to London.
The entire story takes place over the course of a single day. Their mum tells them to buy some okra from a local shop, but instead the two brothers embark on a troublesome day out full of controversy, confrontations and fried chicken.
We watch them as they meet for the first time and struggle to come to terms with, and accept, each other’s lifestyle. Yemi in particular believes his African heritage is something to be ashamed of and can’t stand how confidently his brother parades it around.
Yemi’s attitude is reflective of reactionary ideas that can exist within oppressed groups. The film essentially demonstrates how narrow-minded and divisive views about British culture are filtered down from those in power and absorbed and reinforced at ground level by ordinary people.
Other leading characters have a troubled relationship with their African roots. Mixed-raced Armani, a light-skinned woman with many admirers, including Yemi, revels in the idea that her Jamaican identity means she has no connection with anyone of African descent. She believes that her light skin secures her a closer tie with British culture, which she perceives to be superior.
There are some brilliant moments in the film which challenge these notions of hierarchies and divisions among black people of different heritages. A scene in a car between two young black men and a young white man opens up a discussion about what these distinctions actually are and whether they matter.
The clever, sharp and realistic dialogue is familiar and easy to watch, and the film is likely to remind people of conversations they’ve had in their day to day lives — conversations people may never have seen portrayed so scrupulously on screen before.
The film is an edgy, authentic and honest representation of existing and changing tensions within the black British community that will encourage audiences to question the divides within working class communities.