Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is rich, rough and real. And like the streetlife of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s threatening, touching, violent and funny. This one seems to explode in the gut with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure.
The screenplay was originally commissioned as a BBC-TV play. Subsequent rewrites, while triumphantly upgrading it to the level of big-screen fare, have at the same time sharpened rather than softened that controversial angle.
Brinsley Forde plays the dreadlocked fellow whose problems at the outset are no more than everyday irritants.
By the end, however, he’s lost his job; been chased; beaten by police; discovered his precious sound equipment has been ripped to pieces at the group’s backstreet base by nearby white residents; and he’s plunged a screwdriver into the stomach of the man he knows is responsible.