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  • Gareth Crook

Rocks (2019) - 9/10

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

A little film with a big heart, proving that you don’t need big name stars, fancy sets, just solid characters and the confidence to let a story breathe. Shoal ‘Rocks’ Omotoso (Bukky Bakray) lives in inner city London, goes to school, hangs out with friends, lives with her little brother Emmanuel and... sadly that’s it. Their mother has abandoned them to fend for themselves in a high rise flat and with no other family around Rocks is left dealing with school life and an enquiring little brother. Shopping with the little money they’ve been left. Trying to track down her mother, who has form. Hoping she’ll be back soon or at least answer her phone. She has the weight of the world. It’s shot with a raw honesty, all on location and captures the lives of Rocks and her friends with an increasing devastating effect. The nearly all female cast utterly smashes it. I mean they are brilliant, every single one of them. It’s not easy to deliver this level of honesty and it is brutally honest. Rocks’ world is collapsing. Electricity running out on the meter. Social services lurking. It’s not an easy watch. She’s capable, stubborn... scared. The relationship she has with Emmanuel is all the matters. Her responsibility, keeping him safe, keeping them together. She’s balanced on a knife edge, running from the situation, trying to keep their heads above water. It’s her friends that help her find some balance in the face of such struggle, especially Sumaya (Kosar Ali) who along with Bakray carry this effortlessly. It’s powerful stuff. Rocks questioning herself, blaming herself. It’s heartbreaking. When you’re low though, you can only go up and fuck me this absolutely soars!!! Look out for director Sarah Gavron, she’s captured something really special here.



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