The Reel House’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Small Axe” was Steve McQueens experiment to make 5 films with thematic links covering a wide range of different topics but all encapsulating : supremacy, injustice and history.
McQueen doesn’t shy away once in this series. The themes of the series are brutal and very face value. There’s not much subtlety but in a good way. The film doesn’t hide its beliefs and messages, it instead intends to wash over you with it’s harsh but hopeful authenticity.
Although thematically all the films tread similar messages, they all alternatively bring their own morals as well.
Mangrove - social injustice within the judicial system.
Lover Rock - Social unrest and solidarity.
Red, White and Blue - Police brutality with the police system and negative attitudes towards independence.
Alex Wheatle - Isolation and self recognition.
Education - Discrimination regarding the education system.
Each film had its own effective attributes that will last in my mind.
“Small Axe” was a complete and utter success for McQueen and I can’t wait to see what he does next.