Review: Fallout

July 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Channel 4, 10pm, Thursday 3rd July 2008

Part of Channel 4’s season on Street Crime, Fallout, the play written by Roy Williams amongst the deaths of Damilola Taylor and Stephen Lawrence, now adapted for TV, comes in the midst of another spout of urban violence in London. Nicely timed from a somewhat cynical PR perspective plenty will agree. However, this drama offered more than a simple boost in C4’s ratings from a middle class Britain patting itself on the back for being so socially concerned. Fallout actually contained some genuinely compelling moments as the standard of acting rendered a sometimes improbable script credible.

Set in a London estate, Kwame Abena is stabbed to death by a gang of his schoolmates. His murderer, Emile is known to everyone on the estate but they all refuse to get involved. DS Joe Stephens, a black policeman, is brought in to see if he can persuade one of them to come forward with information. Having originally grown up on the estate, he is viewed by the police department as the perfect person with “obvious attributes?, who can talk to “his people?. It’s got to be said, a few of these scenes were rather hard to take on. The clunky script really bordered on the embarrassing at moments like this serving only to portray the complex issue as unrealistically two dimensional.

However, it was the standard of acting that enabled the story to come through via the sentiment with which the sometimes clumsy words were spoken. Scenes with Stephens and the boys from the estate were extremely well done, highlighting the convolution of his relationship with the culture of the estate in which he grew up. In addition to this, those with Emile’s girlfriend, Shanice, and her friend, Ronnie are depicted with great tenderness.

The conclusion is, indeed, somewhat bleak as Ronnie’s eventual statement against the gang is made void because of Stephens’ desperate interference with the evidence. The closing scenes involve a continuation of the day-to-day around the scene of the stabbing and a remarkable act of forgiveness from Kwame’s mother. Yet, this seemed a fitting ending to a drama representing a culture of violence that remains ever-present and unresolved.

By Susan Allen.