Part two of five in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series sees the director discovering new ground, resourcing in exotic approaches, pacing, and visual communications when compared to his previous handiworks. Lovers Rock essentially boils down to a 68-minute party sequence, spanning itself a tad more than a day. There isn’t anything too remarkably extroverted about its serene, “on-paper” narrative, but it’s the explicit and fervent execution of the art that puts McQueen’s story here on an honorable podium. The grand sum of the film may not be enough to level with the deeds of a thematically intuitive McQueen tour de force like he’s concocted before in the past, but for what it attempts to fulfill with simplistic thrusts and a holy ingesting setting, it succeeds to a T. Furthermore, Lovers Rock is only a fifth of the puzzle, and when the entire Small Axe show arrives in its totality, the episode should mature.
Whenever my eyes weren’t magnetized by the peerless color placement, I was getting caught up in the moment of the paramount joy in partners, innocent jealousies, playful snapbacks, evolving sensuality in dances, solicitous acts of kindness from strangers, or reassuring selection of 70s reggae, R&B, soul, jazz, and disco. Steve McQueen is taking to heart the old “live in the moment” saying in this cinematic outlet: if we must sing, mingle, and juxtapose our bodies with no specific direction to an entire song all the way through, then that’s the end of it; cutting down the beauty of a harmless 1970s London gathering is simply not an option here with Lovers Rock. Why end such a happiness when countless things outside of the comfort of this metaphorical home (per say) are far too unsightly, especially during its time period?
It’s undeniable that Steve McQueen wants you to appreciate this limited, rare moment of mild grace in a society plastered on the streets with radical racism that many black people and others of the oppressed were eventually always pressured to come back to. So, embrace this party as is if it were your last one just as these characters have done! If you’d like to experience Lovers Rock during a virtual rental period October 3rd-5th before its planned Amazon Prime release sometime this year, click the link here to the New York Film Festival’s website. Tickets are only $15!
“Small Axe” will be released on Amazon Prime sometime this year.