Rye Lane (2023)

Directed by Raine Allen-Miller

Two twenty-somethings, both reeling from bad break-ups, connect over the course of an eventful day in South London – helping each other deal with their nightmare exes, and potentially restoring their faith in romance.

Difficult to not feel a little disappointed after the promise of the trailer, especially as it takes the surprise out of many of the directions. And whilst I am glad this film exists for all sorts of reasons (not least as we have a romantic snapshot of pre-gentrified Peckham to look back on in 10 years time), its difficult to love David Jonsson's highly-variable depiction of Dom placed against Vivian Oparah's Yas who is, contrariwise, just a little too sassy and empowered. The visual markers of Jamaican identity (Red Stripe, Supermalt, Wray & Nephew rum, etc.) felt a little too pat, and were placed in the scenes far too 'casually' to be casual... Somewhat cringe and, of course, there is surely more to the Jamaican diaspora in the ol' imperial metropole than a bunch of consumer goods. Indeed, despite any surface appearances, this often felt strangely unchallenging, especially when it had so much more ideological room to dare... or even to offend if it so chose. But many scenes could, quite frankly, have been in a contemporary winking-at-the-camera Nando's advert.