A documentary directed by Penny Woolcock focusing on two gangs in Birmingham who’s dispute has been so long running neither side can remember where it begun or why it started. As a result these rivals are split by postcode. If you life in either area you are involved. End of story.
One Mile away provides an interesting insight into gang culture as a small number of members from either side try to bring peace to their area to stop the next generation of young men getting sucked into their way of life. What is more remarkable is the impact of the riots in August, which caused a ceasefire between the two factions as they faced what many members seen as the common enemy. Otherwise known as the state.
The documentary shows the gang members in a balanced light. They really do seem to be speaking for themselves which although he majority of viewers could never condone the riots, the alternative reasoning behind their actions is interesting.
Furthermore, adding to the balanced light in which the film sheds. There are interviews with the respected elders in the area who look at these young violent men and see a generation lost rather than the fight for social ideals.
Interspersed between interviews there are some of the gang members own music. Which if the documentary hadn’t stuck with a serious tone would probably view as trying too hard to identify with the people involved. However because the lyrics match the subject matter it serves to break up the dialogue which may have become a little too heavy otherwise.
One Mile Away is a frank and thought provoking insight into a way of life the majority of viewers will never experience firsthand.
Director: Penny Woolcock
Runtime: 90 min