This post contains major SPOILERS from the beginning. DO NOT get lost in the sauce and try to blame me.
I went to watch Brotherhood by myself last week, I walked out. It was too much. I go to the cinema to have fun but I wasn’t having any more than that I was outraged! I was exhausted by all the monkey and slave insults (“Do you understand me or do I need to translate it into monkey?” and “I love this, it’s like watching two silverback monkeys getting ready to go at it.” And “You planet of the ape magic monkey cunt” and “Hey Solomon Northup.”) I was tired of the lack of agency of the women in film. I saw more naked vaginas on screen than I have seen in a while and I watch porn for heavensake! The final straw? The thing that made say “Fuck this for a laugh” was when Hugs pushed Sam’s mum over the balcony on her 24th story flat. You see his Sam’s mum was played by Adjoa Andoh, one of my favourite British actresses and her character’s gratuitously violent death was evidence that Noel Clark has no respect for women! He has no respect for the art of cinema! He has no respect for… I was being way too deep.
My best friend Natalie said she wanted to see it and I love spending time with Natalie, so because it doesn’t actually cost me any extra (Unlimited at Cineworld, get to know) I said why not. I could sit through the nakedness and the stabbings again if I had a friend with me, a hotdog and an ice cream (seriously Cineworld is lit). The fact of the matter is I still have issues with Noel Clarke’s work. I thought Sam seemed to have regressed as a character (we’ll get to that) and he still writes women without agency and autonomy over their bodies and destinies. Women in Clarke’s trilogy are simply pawns who exist solely to progress men’s narratives. Brotherhood would fail the Bechdel Test which requires two women to have a conversation on screen that has nothing to do with men. It wouldn’t even get close, two women don’t evenhave a conversation. But let’s face it, the film is called Brotherhood, and if I had sat through my initial offence I would have discovered by the end it does brotherhood so well. I was looking down my nose at Noel Clarke, the same way people have looked down their nose at my work. Hypocrite.
Whatever your thoughts, it doesn’t change the fact this film is one of the highest grossing films at the box office for two weeks in a row. Without further ado, let’s get into the 13 Awesome Things About Brotherhood.
1. Noel Clarke’s Penis.
In an attempt to ensure any claims that he was a misogynist who objectified women were met with “but I got my wang out” Clarke made sure he got his FULL penis out in the first 3 minutes. This is done also to let you know he did not come to play with you hoes and you’d be seeing a lot of genatalia from there on out- no more men’s penis, but genatalia nonetheless. I screamed the first time I saw it. Wew! That’s a long penis. My goodness. On the second viewing I realised, you’re never quite ready to see his penis and for the rest of the film you squint your eyes because it never goes, it’s right there. Imprinted in his jeans. I will never unsee Noel Clarke’s penis.
All kinds of vaginas on display. Long ones, short ones. But all waxed. God forbid you see a vagina in its natural state. I would have loved to see a little bush. After I saw the 6th nude vagina I remembered to book a wax myself.
If you are not bubbling in your seat to the tunes in this film, you’re dead inside.
While Clarke’s character Sam remained as dunce as he was in Kidulthood, Henry played by Arnold Oceng was by far the best thing about Brotherhood. His relationship with his clueless wife Ashanti played by the gorgeous, hilarious Lashana Lynch showed his genuine growth. He's an adult now with responsibilities, he drives a Toyota and he loves his family. He was so funny. 78% of the laughs were because of him.
5. Shanika Warren-Markland.
Oh! What a talented, consistent beautiful actress! She gave such a moving performance as Sam’s beleaguered wife. I just love her. Defo girl crush. After finding out Sam cheated on her in the biggest piece of “Wow! Sam is dumb!” She delivers a great monologue about beer coming out of the girl’s ass and does it so compellingly, you just know Shanika didn’t come to play. Boss.
Stormzy is such a joy. The whole cinema did a collective “Piss off” when his character tried to say he was 19 but he does have great character development. He and Henry have a revealing conversation in the car. It’s heartwarming scene between two black men about adulthood.
7. Guiness Pineapple Punch.
Now Noel Clarke, you know this is not a thing. It’s either guiness punch or pineapple punch. How you thought you’d slip this past us is beyond me.
8. David Ajala.
I love David Ajala. His performance is stunning and he’s so handsome. His character is what you hope black police are like in real life.
9. Cornell John
Played by Cornell John, Uncle Curtis was doing the absolute most. Giving a Shakespearean performance in a perfect Jamaican accent, Curtis was as terrifying as Priest from Dancehall Queen. He coulda said to Sam “Walk and live talk and bumberclat dead” and I wouldn’t have thought any less of him. Superb.
10. Noel Clarke's Tear Ducts.
Mate, Sam balls so much in Brotherhood you wonder if Noel Clarke’s tear ducts will ever run dry. He’s so good at crying. I am too, so in that I feel a kinship towards him.
11. Noel Clark's Tip Toes.
When Sam is making love to his wife we get a shot of him on his tip toes while he’s hitting it on the chest of draws. If you’ve ever had good sex you’ll know that if you have to go on your tip toes it either means the person you’re fucking is taller than you or you’ve found the sweet spot. I like to think it’s the latter.
12. Noel Clark's Body Positivity.
Clarke is older now. His hairline is struggling (he said this, not me) and he’s put on weight. We see him go to the gym and while appraising himself in the mirror he slaps his belly. I liked that. No one talks about the fact that men get flabby too. He didn’t really talk about it but he pointed it out.
Who doesn't love Bashy? I screamed BASHY! when he popped up because he’s perfect. I love him dearly.
And that’s it. 13 Awesome Things About Brotherhood. Despite my earlier indignation it's a solid film. Hopefully it opens the floodgates for other underrepresented voices in UK film.
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