This fascinating sports documentary celebrates the great West Indies cricket team of the late-1970s and 1980s – and shows how its sporting ascendancy resonated far beyond the boundary ropes. Told from the point of view of the players themselves, Fire in Babylon reveals how they struck a blow for black pride at a time when apartheid gripped South Africa, race riots boiled over in England and civil unrest scarred the Caribbean. Before the team’s rise, West Indian cricket was in the doldrums, its players accused – in a phrase with more than a whiff of racism – of indulging in happy-go-lucky “calypso cricket”. But spearheaded by captain Clive Lloyd, flamboyant batsmen Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, and fearsome fast bowlers Colin Croft, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding, the West Indies became an unstoppable force in Test cricket for a decade and a half, banishing the old colonial condescension forever. Director Stevan Riley perhaps pushes the team’s wider political significance a little too hard, but his film’s well-chosen mix of talking heads and match footage allows the team’s sporting achievement to speak for itself.
Released by Revolver Entertainment on DVD & Blu-ray on 6th June.