Yardie movie review

Where to watch

Yardie is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. If you are not in the UK, check the following links to access the iPlayer from in another location:

2018’s Yardie caught a lot of people’s attention as it was the directorial debut of Idris Elba. The movie is based on the 1992 novel, written by Victor Headley. Yardie was released at an interesting time in Idris Elba’s career. While he has appeared in some box office smashes such as his roles in the MCU, The Jungle Book and even Finding Dory, movies like The Dark Tower and Molly’s Game had not been quite as well received by critics or at the box office. 

The first thing that we have to talk about when it comes to Yardie is the setting. The movie is set in Kingston, Jamaica, and London England in the 70s and 80s, and growing up in this era, Idris Elba has managed to keep things very authentic and it makes for a very stylish looking movie. He clearly has a good eye as a director and the overall direction and the whole style of the movie in general is something that most people agree is great. 

Our main character is a young man called D who is played by the very talented Aml Ameen. D lives in Kingston and while he was a child he saw the murder of his older brother, Jerry (played by Everaldo Creary). D, without his older brother to guide him is taken under the wing of a powerful man in Kingston called King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd) and he is a don as well as a major player in the music industry. 

Fox decides to send D to London in order to do a job for him. While in London, D comes across Yvonne (Shantol Jackscon) who was the love of his life in Kingston and she along with D’s baby daughter fled to London to get away from the violence and gang life in Kingston. 

One thing that is fantastic about Yardie is the way that we get to see D almost embrace a peaceful and happy life away from crime. He joins up with a music group called High Noon and he seems to be legit happy. However, he comes across the man who murdered his brother many years ago and this leads him down a path of vengeance. To be honest with you, Yardie could probably be best described as a movie about revenge and moving on.

While getting revenge on the man that killed his brother may have seen like a good idea, this puts him firmly in the sights of the dangerous London gang lord, Rico. Rico is played by Stephen Graham. Stephen Graham is clearly having a great time in this role and as we saw in This Is England, he pulls off the deranged gang type guy very well. 

While Yardie is not a long movie, coming in at just over 100 minutes, it perhaps would have been better if they could have shaved around ten minutes or so as it would have helped the pacing. It is quite clever the way that you think D is going to get out of this life of crime he is in, only for his inability to let go of the past get in the way. 

Some people have said that they think the accents are a little hard to follow, but to be honest with you it is nowhere near as bad as people are making up. Also, the accents/dialect is actually very authentic to the setting of the movie so you do have to give the actors and the people behind the camera for embracing this even though they knew there was a chance some people may not be able to “get it”. 

Yardie: The Vital Statistics

Released: 2018

Director: Idris Elba

Written by: Brock Norman Brock & Martin Stellman


  • Aml Ameen as Dennis "D" Campbell
  • Sheldon Shepherd as King Fox
  • Stephen Graham as Rico Grimes
  • Shantol Jackson as Yvonne
  • Fraser James as Piper
  • Everaldo Creary as Jerry Dread Campbell
  • Akin Gazi as Arif
  • Mark Rhino Smith as Raggz
  • Naomi Ackie as Mona
  • Calvin Demba as Sticks

If you are someone that is into “gangster” movies, especially British ones, Yardie is well worth checking out. It is a solid revenge story and one that has a rather unique setting and an awesome soundtrack.