Actor/producer and part-time DJ Idris Elba now adds director to his resume with Yardie, an adaptation of Victor Headley’s 1992 novel about a young drug courier which begins on the mean streets of Kingston, Jamaica in 1973 and concludes on the even meaner backroads of East London in the 1980s. It’s an alluring, muscular debut soaked in authenticity in both its settings; attractive lead performances and cameos draw the viewer into a story which has a clearly intended significance in a modern London ridden by knife crime. […] [This is a nicely-shot, -cast and -told period story of black Britain – when so few exist […].
Charismatic lead actor Aml Ameen […] stakes his claim to stardom here. Ameen plays D (for Denis), a young boy […] first seen in the green countryside and bleached, dusty Kingston streets of Jamaica, 1973. With no parents in evidence, D relies on and idolises his older brother Jerry Dread (Everaldo Creary) […]. D ends up running errands for drugs – and music – impresario King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd).
Particular attention has been paid to the soundtrack, with the score by Dickon Hinchcliffe (Tindersticks), and David Hill acting as creative consultant. […] Idris Elba has made a film with the desire to entertain running through its DNA: it’s a righteous debut.
Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily