NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2020 REVIEW! In the last installment of Steve McQueen’s anthology of films, Small Axe, everything comes full circle. In the first episode, Mangrove, McQueen explores direct action against police brutality. In Red, White and Blue, there is direct action that’s coming from within the system. Themes of racism and injustice resound in this film, based on the life of Leroy Logan. He was a child of Jamaican parents, who went against his father’s every wish and became a police officer.
“…[Leroy] feels like he will make more of a difference in the world and, more specifically, his community if he were a police officer.”
Leroy Logan (John Boyega) experienced racial profiling by the police as a child, and his father, Kenneth (Steve Toussaint), is assaulted by officers when Leroy is older. Kenneth already had a healthy distrust for the police, but after being put in the hospital due to police brutality, his distrust turns to hatred. Leroy is a forensic scientist with a Ph.D., but he feels like he will make more of a difference in the world and, more specifically, his community if he were a police officer.
His aunt, Jesse (Nadine Marshall), encourages Leroy behind his father’s back. Kenneth is not the only one displeased with the fact that Leroy decides to become a cop. Once he is out on patrol, all of the black people in the neighborhood call him a traitor. Then on the inside, a group of white cops proves to be horrible white supremacists. Leroy has a racial slur written on his locker, and that is only the beginning of his betrayal at the hands of his white fellow officers. Leroy lets it be known that he doesn’t plan on giving up his quest to effect change from the inside.
"…is it even possible to effect change from within the system?"