If I was tell you that there was once a black man that use to run with a white skin head gang, led by a white supremacist, you would probably tell me that that the idea was far-fetched. You would probably think the thought to be even more absurd if I was to tell you that this non- Caucasian man grew a name for himself, earned a spot amongst their skin head ranks and is even based on a true story. Surprisingly I can assure you that this account is indeed factual and displays itself in the form of the film, Farming.
In the 1960’s to 1980’s there was a system known as ‘farming’ which allowed Nigerian children to be fostered out by their parents to white working class families within the UK. Either because some families could not afford to have them or they wanted better lives for their children.
Actor and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, best known for his performances in numerous films including The Mummy: Returns and Get Rich or Die Tryin’, was a farming child and this film is his account of growing up in a foster home. The film addresses his struggle to fit into the community, joining a skin head gang, and breaking away from that troubled life, blossoming into the successful actor he is today.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje‘s film has unique story telling which keeps you interested and engaged throughout the film. Most of the time you’re in shock, mainly because the film tackles various elements such as racism, social inequality and culture shock, which you witness as you see the scenes transition from the white UK working class lifestyle to the intense cultural way of living the Nigerian community practice. This is the kind of feeling you want when it comes to films that touch base on these topics, it’s not only an indication that the film is engaging but it is also an opportunity to witness and learn the hardships/lifestyle that were carried out during that particular period of time.
The real standout within this film is Enitan who is the main character played by both Zephan Amissah (Young Enitan) and Damson Idris (Older Enitan). The level of emotion and acting capabilities of both actors shine brightly, particularly through Enitan’s characteristic changes and attitudes towards life.
Not to mention Kate Beckinsale’s portrayal of Enitan’s foster mum Ingrid Carpenter is brilliantly conflicting and annoying to watch, not in the sense that she acted terribly, but more in the sense that her character really gets under your skin through her neglect and abuse towards Enitan. The conflicting relationship between Enitan and Ingrid is what really steers the story to make interesting turning points. Enitan, once a boy that fought so hard to try to be loved by his foster mum and fit in to his surrounding community eventually turns into Enitan the man, who rebels against society. This attitude is escalated further when he meets and joins John Dagleish’s character Levi, the leader of the skin head gang ‘The Tilbury Skins’.
John Dagleish’s performance is what helps give the story an even darker edge and helps Enitan dig an even deeper into the hate for the world around him, which I personally enjoyed viewing this dark accession of Enitan‘s growth from a vulnerable boy to man that has no fear for the world.
Farming is a powerful film based on truth and will be out in Australian cinemas from November 21.