Seemingly just your normal Hackney boy, Adam Deacon, rapper, writer, director, actor and most notably recipient of the 2012 BAFTA Rising Star Award, is a high achiever. On his way to fame and fortune has young Adam lost touch with his roots? Well it seems overwhelmingly safe to say that he has not. Still walking and talking with the swagger that launched a thousand rap artists, he’s obviously still Adam from the block. In fact, he’s built a career out of it.
Hanging his music and feature film hat for the time being Deacon has put his documentary-maker hoodie on, and in his sights, the public image of the British Metropolitan Police Service. If the middle class reactionary inside you screams bias at this point it would be wrong, but not completely so.
He soon introduces us to his friend and victim of police brutality, David. He also soon informs us that David’s horrendous experience was Deacon’s motivation for making this documentary. Using this case and others he paints a picture of incompetence and abuse. To balance this we get the police’s side of the story. On the way we also get to hear the views of some rather ignorant reactionaries that Deacon doesn’t challenge in the slightest.
Even if his intentions do seem genuinely honourable it’s occasionally hard to take our presenter seriously as a guide through this moral and political maze. Exuding a sort of urban vanity and only hinting at a veneer of journalistic integrity over and above that he seems a little lost. Never is this more clear than when he visits a farm and spends his entire time there limping around trying to keep his trainers clean like he’s stepping on fresh DVD pressings of Adam Deacon film Anuvahood orPayback Season starring Adam Deacon. Rick Parry he is not.
When we talk of mainstream cultural ambassadors for what has become a largely marginalised British demographic it seems one has to reel off a list of egos. Noel Clarke, Ben Drew, Adam Deacon. They carve out a niche for themselves, carefully cultivating a fanbase as, for better or worse, self-promotion is the name of the game. So, whilst obviously talented, each of their projects relies on their being delivered with a dynamism and credibility that overshadows the side order of posturing that seems inherent to their work. This credibility is of course integral to their success but it can’t be everything and when one of them steps outside of their comfort zone they can occasionally come out with their new shoes a little muddied.
While Deacon makes admirable overtures to be even handed he seems all too at home delivering the anti-police content expected of him and more uncomfortable when delivering the pro-police side of things. Nevertheless he still conjures a compelling picture of a slice of ‘Broken Britain’. That this picture is somewhat heavy handed on one side may not satisfy his apparent remit, but it still makes for interesting viewing.