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DVD Review

DVD cover

Save Me


Starring: Lennie James, Suranne Jones, Stephen Graham, Jason Flemyng and Susan Lynch
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 07 May 2018

It may be difficult to remember, following his prominent role in The Walking Dead, but Lennie James has an extensive film and television resume, last appearing as Mister Cotton in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and now transiting his character of Morgan Jones to Fear the Walking Dead.

Save Me: Series One (2018, 6 Eps) is a gritty drama, both written and starring James as Nelson "Nelly" Rowe, a man with a drinking problem who is leading a dissolute life in a south London estate.

Nelly is very much an anti-hero who spends his time between the pub and sofa surfing amongst differing women, who all think that they are in a single relationship with him.

The story opens with a video message from his estranged daughter, Jody, letting her mother, Claire (Suranne Jones), know that she is going to see her father. The first thing that Nelly knows about this is when the police break down his door and arrests him on a charge of kidnapping.

Although he denies even having contact with his daughter the police produce almost a years’ worth of emails and text messages. There is a catch, Nelly is confrontational in nearly all aspects of his life and the language used in the messages throws doubt on whether Nelly even sent them as his vocabulary isn’t that extensive.

Even after the police let him go, for a lack of evidence, those around him still have doubts as to his innocence, even his ex-girlfriend and mother of Jody fears that he may have done something because of his previous lack of emotional control and aggressive outbursts. Driven by a need to prove his innocence and find his daughter Nelly sets off on an Orphean decent into the dark underbelly of London.

This is a darkly compelling drama, though there are some humorous touches, the subject matter of kidnap and child sex slavery do not naturally lend themselves to comedy. Nelly realises that he needs the help of his community, especially his best friend, Melon (Stephen Graham), who has his own dark past and just about the only person he trusts because Nelly realises that whoever was sending Jody messages, knows the intimate details of his life.

Torn between the need to trust to get help and the fear that whoever has his daughter is probably standing next to him, Nelly’s quest and his journey towards redemption tears not only his own life apart but also the lives of those around him.

The story succeeds on many levels. Lennie James’s character is nuanced and the portrayal of life on a south London estate feels authentic. Occasionally the pace of the story dips, but the character of Nelly knits the whole thing together.


Charles Packer

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