An intimate documentary which gives a voice to people who are rarely heard is how you could describe George Amponsah’s “The Hard Stop” (released nationwide July 15th).
The film reveals the story behind the headlines of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. On August 4th 2011, 29 year old father of six, Mark Duggan convicted of minor crimes but suspected of major gangsterism was shot and killed in a “Hard Stop” police procedure in Tottenham Hale, after they had forced the minicab in which he was travelling to a sudden halt since they believed he was in possession of a handgun. This sparked the most violent riots in British history, involving looting and arson, beginning in London and quickly spreading elsewhere in the country, resulting in the death of five individuals.
Despite inconsistencies in the initial police reports in January last year, a jury at the Royal Courts of justice inquest into Duggan’s death decided by an eight to one majority, it was a lawful killing. Moreover in 2013 Kevin Hutchinson-foster was convicted of supplying Duggan with a gun.
Director George Amponsah filmed around the Broadwater Farm in Tottenham where Duggan grew up , capturing his family’s distress and focusing on two of his best friends, Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville, both of whom are consumed with a hatred for the police whom they believe to be seeking revenge for the killing of PC Blakelock in the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. We follow the men closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, looking for a job, talking about discrimination they experience on a daily basis and the impact Duggan’s death has had on the community – Knox now works as a mentor in a centre trying to help kids out of the cycle of gangs and crime.
The film is weakened to a degree by the fact that the police and other authorities refused to appear but Knox brings himself to meet and even shake hands with a former policeman, now also trying to help restore trust in the community. There is also some crass rap music about Duggan as a hero.
Overall though, this is an angry but compassionate documentary which in the end emerges as a tale of redemption.
The Hard Stop
Showing nationwide from 15 July 2016.Last modified: July 11, 2016