The Hard Stop – named after the controversial surprise manoeuvre police used to pull over Duggan – opens with a quote attributed to Martin Luther King: “A riot is the language of the unheard”. What George Amponsah’s film attempts to do is give a voice to the unheard.
Duggan’s closest friends, Marcus Knox Hooke and Kurtis Henville, act as our chaperones into Tottenham’s tight-knit community as they deal with the fallout of that fateful day in 2011 over the next two years. The former has been implicated as the instigator of the riots and faces a lengthy spell in prison; the latter is struggling to get on the straight and narrow while he juggles work and family commitments.
Wisely, Amponsah employs an unobtrusive directorial style throughout, juxtaposing a heady mix of candid fly-on-the-wall camera work with hard-hitting news footage and an angry rap soundtrack, allowing his subjects – so little heard and often vilified – to tell the story in their own words.
Relaxed and trusting in the presence of the camera, the men speak frankly of their frustrations and regrets as they reflect on both the choices they’ve made and factors beyond their control. “Money, drugs, power, respect – you can lose that in a night”, muses Hooke. Here we see the gang lifestyle not just as a wayward path for the dangerous and criminal, but as a fraternity of kinship and security in response to a tough environment and an uncaring system.
From the riots of the Broadwater Farm in 1985 to the riots of 2011, the film succeeds in exposing an endemic culture of mistrust and rivalry between police and the black community that existed long before the death of Duggan.
Capturing the pain, resentment and disappointment of the real people behind the headlines, The Hard Stop is a deeply moving, insightful and non-judgmental examination of a community at once brought together and torn apart by tragedy.
|What||The Hard Stop film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
15 Jul 16 – 15 Sep 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to visit the film's IMDB page|