‘Red, White and Blue’ Review: John Boyega Gives a Powerhouse Performance in a Steve McQueen’s Most Challenging ‘Small Axe’ Film [NYFF 2020]
Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2020 by Hoai-Tran Bui
“Big change…that is a slow-turning wheel.”
There are no easy victories in Red, White and Blue, the last in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series highlighting the London West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s. Following the story of Leroy Logan (John Boyega), a young forensic scientist who is driven by racial injustice against his father to become a police officer, Red, White and Blue is by far McQueen’s most challenging film of the series, not just because it takes on the tangled topic of racist policing, but because it refuses to give us, the audience, the satisfaction of a Hollywood happy ending. Instead, Red, White and Blue is a difficult, oftentimes bleak, reflection of the Sisyphean fight for racial equality with Boyega at the center as that mythic figure fruitlessly rolling the boulder up the mountain.