Everyone by now has heard Vue and Showcase cinemas have dropped gang film Blue Story after a mass brawl. 

Around 100 young people were involved in a fight at the Star City Vue cinema in Birmingham on Saturday, before the screening of Blue Story and while families lined up to watch Frozen 2.

A group of youths were pictured holding a machete, and five teenagers, including a 13-year-old girl, were arrested.

But exactly why the film has been banned remains a mystery to me. 

Unfortunately, it appears cinema bosses have glossed over the message of the film – which centres around questioning the purpose of ‘postcode wars’ and highlights how easily an innocent kid can be dragged into a world of violence and gang-related activity.

I went to see the film before the controversy, in a Cineworld pre-screening on November 15.

With the recent release of Top Boy season 4 on Netflix, I imagined it would take influence in the gritty nature and style of the critically acclaimed series. 

Blue Story is an adaptation of Rapman’s (Andrew Onwubolu) Youtube music video series Shiro’s Story. Although I had seen Shiro’s Story when it was becoming viral, I was not sure how much Blue Story would stray from its origins.

There is no denying that there is gang violence throughout the movie. The ongoing conflict between a gang in Lewisham and Peckham only worsens throughout the film. But those who see this as a movie idealising gangs have missed the point.

The coming-of-age film depicts the friendship between Timmy from Lewisham and Marco from Peckham.

The pair become friends after Timmy moves to Marco's school. But the new-found friendship is tested as the boys are influenced by gang culture.

I was less fond of the love-interest subplot as the dialogue between Timmy and his school crush Leah was not anything particularly interesting and the outcome felt predictable. But as clichéd as it was, it proved to be a pivotal point for the final act of the film.

It’s interesting to see Rapman, who directed and wrote the film, tweet that it is “a film about love, not violence”.

Despite the level of violence within the closing acts of Blue Story, it is true that love is a reoccurring theme.

But as tragedy later strikes in the film, Rapman clearly leads to the moral conclusion that gang life is not the thing that younger people tend to idealise.

From the opening of Blue Story, Timmy as a child tells his mother he doesn’t want to leave his local school to go to the one in Peckham, which his mother says will lead him away from negative influences.

For the most part, Timmy and Marco manage to look past their postcode differences. Marco exclaims “I love this guy” near the beginning of the film, which makes their inevitable fallout as they get dragged into gang activity more heartbreaking.

The film, like Shiro’s story, is intercut with narration by Rapman who commentates as the tragic tale unfolds.

Timmy lives his shy awkward life, trying to impress his schoolgirl crush while Marco tries to impress his older gang affiliated brother.

While the two tried to avoid falling into the postcode wars between Lewisham and Peckham, both of their lives take disastrous turns. They did not choose to join a gang, but were victimised into joining that lifestyle involuntarily. When the film touches upon this, it becomes a gripping piece of social commentary as it shows the hardships of a life surrounded by gangs.

Blue Story does fall into cliché territory with the fallout between the two friends who resort to violence to deal with their internal issues. The conclusion is almost inevitable, and it is not a shock to see the outcome. But the predictable faults and overdramatic writing however do not overshadow the overall message.

Rapman's film shows that gang-loyalty is not guaranteed, that people who fall into this lifestyle often come out with regrets. If you are lucky to see the red flags of gang activity, you can still fix your life before it’s too late.

Blue Story however does well to illustrate that gang culture is misunderstood. Gang lifestyle is not glamorous and people often fall into it without intending to.

That is why the tale of Blue Story is an important and timely one to tell. Vue cinemas have banned the film out of concerns of safety – but has anyone actually seen the film?

Blue Story is still being shown in other cinema chains, including Cineworld and Odeon.