Written by: Ismet Prcic, Malik Vitthal
Directed by: Malik Vitthal
Starring: John Boyega, Rotimi, Glenn Plummer, Keke Palmer
John Boyega plays a reformed gangster recently released from prison struggling to take care of his son and avoid being pulled back into the life that got him imprisoned.
This is a powerful tale of trying to care for your kid and escape poverty. It's easy to do the illegal thing because of the financial incentive. It's a vicious cycle that few escape.
Boyega does a great job and the scenes with his son are touching. We commiserate with his impossible situation that seemingly has no escape.
While this is just now seeing a wider release on Netflix, Boyega starred in this before Star Trek: The Force Awakens (2015).
Bambi (John Boyega) is out of prison and trying to take care of his son. Prison actually reformed him and he wants to abandon a life of violence, but that means giving up where he stays and cutting ties with his family. His Uncle Shrimp is a drug dealer, and if Bambi wants to stay in that house, there is a price to pay. From the start you feel for his struggle. He's trying to do the best he can. While there are assistance programs, they are band-aids on a wound that needs stitches.
His parole officer wants him to get a job, but there is a large gap between what he needs and the tools provided. Bambi is stuck. He can't get a job without a license and he can't get a license without paying child support. How can he pay child support without a job and why does he owe so much when he was in prison? The mother of his child didn't even apply for child support, the state did it on her behalf. Bambi has aspirations of becoming a writer, but he faces many obstacles.
With those options, returning to crime isn't just an easy choice, it seems like the only choice. He's stuck in a loop. It's easy to see why convicts go back to crime, what else can you do? Bambi is tasked with making something out of nothing. It's the same impossible task of doing more with less. Bambi's story is paralleled with his half brother Wayne's. Wayne has a college scholarship, but despite loans he still needs money for tuition. He sees drug running as a temporary solution. That looks like a way out with acceptable risk, but once you get into that it keeps you in. That's why Bambi wants his brother to avoid it and why Bambi is adamant that he won't do that kind of work.
From the start of the movie we're afraid Bambi is going to return to crime as a means of escaping where he is. Bambi faces all of this while trying to care for his son. He doesn't want his son to grow up like he did. Even if he could get a job, how would he maintain it with a child? All he has is questions with no answers.