Blue Story: A Review – A Tragic Tale of Morality, Gang Culture and Brotherhood

Blue Story is the highly anticipated cinematic debut of writer/director Andrew ‘Rapman’ Onwubolu, the producer of the viral YouTube series Shiro’s story. Blue Story portrays the high octane, inner-city drama typical of Rapman’s cinematic style. The streets of south-east London are brought to the big screen in this sobering exploration of morality, brotherhood and the tragic implications of gang culture.

This feature film presents the story of childhood friends Timmy and Marco, two young boys united through brotherhood – but divided by postcodes. Blue Story is structured in two halves: a coming-of-age tale, following teenage boys in the pursuit of girls, football and house parties, which later evolves into a cyclical pursuit of revenge, victim to circumstance.

Blue Story resides on a fine balance between reality and fiction; the relatable and the seemingly distinct. The documentary style incorporation of real-life iPhone footage, TV news segments and coverage bring the fictional narrative back home – serving a reminder that these stories exist beyond the cinema.

Equally, the film also gives a nod to the traditions of contemporary London’s youth culture. The juiced up journey to the ‘motive’ at the back of the bus, the will they/won’t they couple in Secondary School and, not to forget, the group (and audience) delight when hopeless romantic of the group Hakeem, finally secures a whine. These elements are the reason Blue Story resonates so deeply with its audience.

Rapman’s Blue Story mirrors a structure typical of a Greek tragedy – a melodramatic play following a protagonist in pursuit of their personal version of ‘justice’ and ideals, foregrounded by their fate determined by personal flaw and circumstance. Rapman breaks the fourth wall with his poetic rap interludes, similar to that of a Greek chorus.

The film concludes with a reminder that there are just as many ways in, as there are out of gang culture. Whilst Madder (Junior Afolabi Salokun) eventually pursues a life of educating the youth, and reformation. The young rapper we encounter earlier, pursues vengeance, at the expense of his promising music career. Rapman reminds us that this is reality for many kids in the capital, a fine balance between a pursuit of dreams and cyclical victim of circumstance.

I’m not trying to justify, I just want to show you what these young boys are fighting for.”

Rapman, BBC News

Rapman has directed a film with potential extending beyond a cinema screen. The film doesn’t fall into traps of exaggerating the reality for aesthetic purposes. Blue Story is raw, honest and authentic storytelling at its best. Not only does it raise awareness, but also educates all audiences, particularly a youth audience, on the real life dangers a gang affiliated lifestyle provokes.

Blue Story is brought to life by Paramount Pictures and BBC Films, and is accompanied by an incredible soundtrack by Roc Nation and Polydor Records, featuring Rapman, Jorja Smith, Giggs and more.

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