(out of 5)
Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff brought the sounds of Jamaican music to North America when he starred in this excellent gangster film. Pulsing with the beat of its beautiful soundtrack, the story features Cliff as a country bumpkin who moves to the big city of Kingston to make it as a singer, but soon finds himself so oppressed by shady opportunists that he ends up in a life of violent crime instead. Eventually his notorious violent rampages of murder make him something of a folk legend in his community while police hunt him down to stop him for good. Cliff is excellent, Perry Henzell’s direction is superb and although the pace is relaxed, the film is never lazy nor does it ever lose its narrative focus. The police thriller aspect of it is intense and gratifying, but the music is its most satisfying facet and one of the strongest reasons to watch it. This was the first film ever to be made in Jamaica with a Jamaican cast and crew, barely over a decade after the country’s independence.
International Films, Xenon Pictures
Directed by Perry Henzell
Screenplay by Perry Henzell, Trevor D. Rhone
Produced by Perry Henzell
Production Design by Sally Henzell