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“Based on a true story” is slapped across the opening credits of this gruelling film, written and directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, on whose life it is based. Like Shola Amoo’s The Last Tree, the film sets out to explore the ramifications of “farming”, a phenomenon that began in the late 1960s and saw Nigerian children privately fostered by white, mostly working-class families while their parents worked and studied.
Enitan (Zephan Amissah as a child, Damson Idris as a teenager) is parked in Essex with new foster mother, Ingrid (Kate Beckinsale, overacting), where he experiences violent, humiliating, racialised abuse inside and outside of the home. He scrubs his dark skin raw and covers it in talcum powder. As a teenager, he is attacked and violated by some skinheads and eventually adopted as their “pet”; the bouncy ska soundtrack gives these disturbing scenes a poppy sheen. Enitan’s trauma is revelled in but for what? Few new truths are learned here. A rushed, redemptive montage towards the film’s end is presented as ickily aspirational.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Farming review – disturbing but unreflective racial drama | Film