Alex Wheatle is a heartfelt tale that will frustrate you to your core because it is, undeniably, incomplete.
A true story depicting the life of award winning writer Alex Wheatle, from his childhood through his formative years as a young adult trying to find his way in Brixton.
Listen, I love what Steve McQueen has achieved by making the Small Axe series. Five stories, all true or inspired by such, about the struggles of the black West Indie community in Europe. A beautiful collection of oppressive history highlighting the sins of old so we may compare them to the ones of today. Stories of people of color, for people of color, by people of color.
The problem is that most of the series feels incomplete and Alex Wheatle is a prime example. The pacing is quick and relentless, forcing the story to rely heavily on dialogue that is sometimes, I fear to admit, difficult to understand. On top of that we watch as our filmmakers set up the narrative only to end it an hour in, just as we get ready to launch into the juicy part of our protagonists journey. There are very few directors who could get away with telling partial stories once… McQueen has managed to do it with three out of the five films within the series.
On the plus side, the film has that signature aesthetic McQueen strives for and remains incredibly consistent with the previous four installments. Our actors deliver strong performances across the board. The exception being that I often found it to be quite difficult to get a grasp on Alex himself, played by Sheyi Cole, though I somehow feel this is intended.
Overall disappointing; never have I seen a film that spends an hour setting up the small series of paragraphs that would briefly describe to us what is, likely, the most captivating moments of this author’s life. 5.5/10
Born in Puerto Rico but raised in a combination of the island, Boston and upstate New York. This guy’s accent shifts depending on his mood, as does his sense of style. If you don’t understand him sometimes, don’t feel bad, neither do we.
Having studied film in Florida, with a focus on writing and directing, and having worked on many projects of all sizes and scope, Raul has a well rounded understanding of cinema. He is also a huge fan of American Football and believes Tom Brady to be the indisputable G.O.A.T.