Raising Baby Rio

Raising Baby Rio


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Raising Baby Rio is a grim slice of life, yet another picture of discontent and dissolution on the streets of London. The titular Rio is child to Neville (Nathaniel Martello-White) and Shanna (Ashley Madekwe). Shanna's an addict in various stages of recovery, and at the start of this foray into urban grime Neville rescues his 'infant' from the crack-house where she has passed out.

This is writer Dewi Bruce-Konuah's fiction debut. He's previously been involved in a couple of documentaries. He manages to tick all the standard boxes for this sort of piece: we've got a cute little sprog; a babyfather trying to do what's best; a 'cuz' who places temptation in his path; heaped degradation for the bad mother. It may well be depressingly accurate, but it's also depressingly familiar. Martello-White and Madekwe convey their desires and desperations effectively, never really stretched by upsetting, then uplifting, ultimately pedestrian events.

Director O Nathopon does an able job, but between its origins in TV and what might be an attempt at cinema verite there's nothing special happening on the screen. Nathopon has directed in Thailand, and hopefully there's more work to come from him. It's unfair to judge talent from a single piece, though on this showing it must be hoped that there's better to come from all involved.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2009
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A boy tries to take back his child from its crack-addicted mother in this part of Channel 4's Coming Up Scheme.

Director: O Nathapon Wongtreenatrkoon

Writer: Dewi Bruce-Konuah

Starring: Nathaniel Martello-White, Ashley Madekwe, Kacey Parker Gordon

Year: 2009

Runtime: 29 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2009

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