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“Anthony” – Review

“Anthony” – Review


On July 30, 2005, 18-year old Anthony Walker was killed in an unprovoked and brutally racist crime that shocked all of Britain and robbed a young man of a life that was filled with promise. Anthony is the story of what his life could have been had he lived, and this deeply powerful drama is sure to touch your heart.

Produced by the BBC, Anthony is a raw and emotional drama that examines that best of what a person can be, and focuses in on the life that Anthony Walker could have been. Director Terry McDonough builds a profoundly beautiful portrait of Anthony, and the type of person he was and the characteristics he exhibited. This touching piece of cinema grips audiences with its layered narrative and innovative storytelling and framing techniques. While it is a made-for-television movie you never feel that you are watching anything less of a moving independent drama that could easily compete at the likes of Sundance or Cannes.

Within the film, there’s a deep focus on capturing what kind of person Anthony Walker was, and actor Toheeb Jimoh marks himself out as a rising talent to keep an eye with this very strong performance. As Anthony, Jimoh builds out this portrait of Anthony Walker as a deeply caring, all-around good person who would have done so much good in his life and who was always wanting others to reach their full potential and who was more than willing to support them in doing so. Jimoh captures a man who knew the presence of faith and belief in his life, and who would have lived a life that anyone would have been pleased to have.

Jimoh is incredibly brave in his performance as Walker and brings a complete believability as this young man living the life he was supposed to have. He also shares terrific chemistry with co-star Julia Brown who portrays Anthony’s future wife Katherine. As Katherine, Brown is the woman Anthony could have married and built a life with, and as you see their life and love unfold together in the film’s innovative backwards-based storytelling narrative, you witness a loving relationship of two people unfolding together in perfect dramatic unison.

But while Anthony does work to showcase the dream future that Anthony Walker could have lived, it also plays out the savage and senseless crime that robbed him of his life when he was struck and killed in a violent and racially motivated attack in 2005. These moments are utterly emotionally and will have its audience feeling like a physical wreck. Neither McDonough, nor the cast shies away from the horrors that were committed here, and they make a firm statement to the despicable place of white supremacy, and the atrocities that it commits. These moments are some of the hardest to watch throughout Anthony and there is no part of the audience that won’t be affected by them.

While Anthony Walker’s life ended tragically, this film, made with the co-operation of his family and loved ones, captures the essence of who this amazing young man was, and is a celebration of what he stood for. While there are moments of utter heartbreak, I firmly believe that this film delivers a strong message of hope and love and those who see it will be profoundly moved by it.

Anthony is available to stream on Acorn TV.

Image: BBC