Film Friday: County Lines

Tyler is a loner, a fourteen-year-old struggling to find his way. He does what he can to care for his little sister but finds himself at odds with his mum and those in authority at school. As a result he is drawn into the dark and sordid world of drug distribution.


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He is befriended by Simon, a stranger who seems to care about him. Before long the friendship develops into a business arrangement and Tyler finds himself in a strange and squalid apartment, having transported a packet of drugs to another town. This is a grim and unsettling watch, a story based on real experiences. The writer/director Henry Blake was a youth worker for 11 years. As Tyler spirals downwards his ‘friendship’ with Simon splinters, and it’s not long before he finds himself cast adrift and in very grave danger. This may not be a film you’ll ever choose to watch, but just knowing that this story exists in one sense is enough. The chilling statistic appears on screen at the end – 10,000 youngsters are involved in drug distribution in this country. Some as young as 11.


This disturbing film portrays a slice of life that leaves us in no doubt that evil is very real in this world. ‘Why do the evil prosper?’ Jeremiah cries at the start of chapter 12 of his book. ‘Why do they thrive?’ This is an ancient problem. Sin is not a popular word these days, but whether we call it… misdemeanour, crime, wrongdoing, rebellion, bad… whatever… it strikes me that the long-standing biblical view that this world needs rescuing is a true and sure one. We may develop and advance in many positive ways, yet we are still selfish, self-absorbed people. Just remember the rush for toilet paper, pasta and handwash back in March. It may not be the same as ruining lives with drugs, but we still need rescuing. I do. Every day I am in danger of getting caught in the mud and mire of my own foolish and selfish ways. But the writer of Psalm 139 (verses 7-12) assures us that no place is too dark for God. He is not afraid of the gloom and the grime of real life. Jesus was a realist. Very perceptive. He commented on the kind of things that can come out of us. Gossip. Slander. Evil intentions. Crime. Betrayal. Greed. Envy. I don’t think he was focussed on wrongdoing he just didn’t pretend, and neither did he cover up. Or say it’ll all be all right in the end. Instead he embraced life, all of life, the grim and the gracious. He loved life. And he started something. A way through this mire. He offered us a cross and a crossroads. A decision to make. A light for the gloom.

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  1. Mark Roques says:

    Thanks very much for these reflections Dave. Very important to be aware of the drug culture and how it sucks people into it. There are layers to evil that need to be discussed. There is human selfishness at the individual level. There is also the issue of systemic evil. We also need to take on board the reality of unseen rulers and powers that are mentioned in Col 2:15. Thanks for raising these issues Dave.

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