Dir: Andrew Onwubolu

With: Stephen Odubola, Micheal Ward, Karla-Simone Spence

Runtime: 91 mins

There’s a grim inevitability to this overly familiar tale, one that doesn’t exactly function as entertainment so much as social parable. With knife and gun crime soaring in inner city London, teenager Timmy (Odubola) and best friend Marco (Ward) do their best not to get involved.

It’s a sad portrait of desperate times, as turf wars play out between rival gangs on the streets of their estates, where violence can erupt for no reason other than where you happen to live. Convincing performances means we’re engaged with these characters in the early stages, but a midpoint tragedy leads to a far less successful second half where things turn even more bleak and investment starts to wain given the wrongs being perpetrated on all sides. The one thing that does set Blue Story apart from others of its ilk is the way vital information and plot points are passed to us through lyrics rapped by writer-director Onwubolu, AKA Rapman. The songs are a judiciously used device that often do a better job than a trite script that deals in authentic dialogue but mostly concerns the various beefs and what violence they’re going to inflict on each other without revealing any particular depth. Admirable intent then, and the hope is that the people who need to hear the message do so and can take it on board, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to sit through it.