Wednesday, June 22, 2011


J.J. (Joel Dommett) rapping with
Venom (Ludvig Bonin) in Bashment.
Bashment, dir. Rikki Beadle-Blair, 2010 UK, 110 min., 
Sat. 6/18, 1:30 p.m. @ Victoria; [view trailer]
ADVISORY: this film contains graphic violence

Rikki Beadle-Blair is well familiar to Frameline audiences for the 1999 TV series Metrosexuality and the 2008 short film Souljah; he also wrote the screenplay for the 1995 film Stonewall. In Bashment, he again takes on issues of race, sex, and sexuality. MC J.J. (Joel Dommett) is a white, gay rapper, originally from the “cow country” of southwestern England, rising quickly on the London rap scene. At the finals of the Urban Slam competition, J.J. comes out, inviting his boyfriend Orlando (Marcus Kai) to join him onstage. Problem is, the Ilford Ilmanics crew, pissed off at having been disqualified for showing up an hour late, take out their frustrations on Orly backstage, beating him so badly that he has permanent brain damage.

A handful of other characters become intertwined between J.J. and Orly on the one hand and the Ilford bunch on the other, but their introduction into the plot is unfortunately somewhat clumsy — especially the convenience store clerk who visits one of the Ilford guys in prison, helping him get in touch with his softer side. There’s also an odd mix of gruesome violence and kumbaya reconciliation in the plot, making more of an amalgam than an alloy. Still, if the violence doesn’t put you off the film entirely, Bashment mostly has its heart in the right place, and has many sweet and/or funny moments. With a caveat about the backstage beating scene and a prison fight, Recommended.

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