Dir: Penny Woolcock
Running time: 90 minutes
THREE years ago, Penny Woolcock made 1 Day, a drama about warring gangs that cast local lads from Birmingham as actors. When she heard there was a chance of a real-life truce between the two sides, she went back to Brum with a camera. One Mile Away charts the efforts of Dylan and Shabba to persuade each side, near neighbours, to stop the cycle of violence and retaliation. In Dylan and Shabba she has two eloquent, likeable characters and wisely keeps the focus on them as much as possible. When the film tries to set up encounters, such as with former Downing Street aide and peace process diplomat Jonathan Powell (ex-Labour MP James Purnell is the film's producer), it feels more forced. Woolcock has an easy way with her interviewees, persuading them to open up about their lives, and the result is a fascinating glimpse into gang culture and why it endures.