This is a very good independent feature and commentary on impoverished England. In America, you don’t hear very much about England’s poor areas. I mean I know they exist but didn’t know that it is as bleak as the poor here in the US. I like when movies give you a new perspective and a different look at what’s happening around the globe. Sometimes the US can get so boxed in with its own issues we forget other parts of the world are suffering as much as we are if not more. Bradford, West Yorkshire, England is one of those cities which is suffering.
The Premise: Set in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the story’s based on the book by Oscar Wilde with the same name. Watching this movie it was a very interesting story-line. And since I haven’t read the book I wonder how close the movie kept to the original story? Anyway, it’s about two preteen friends living in abject poverty, Arbor, Conner Chapman, is from a small single parent family, and struggling with ADHD, and has a brother who is a drug addict stealing Arbor’s meds. And Swifty, Shaun Thomas, is his bigger friend who everyone calls slow, lives in a large poor family with a father and a mother who don’t work. In the film they refer to them as Pikey’s and Gypsy’s. Which signifies them as being poor and uneducated and is an ethnic slur, it’s the equal to what the US would call poor white trash.
Both boys have trouble in school because they are peculiar and have learning disabilities. And both live right next door to each other. As they try to make extra money for their families by stealing copper wire for recycling, they’re hired to do the dirty work for a guy named Kitten, Sean Gilder, who gives them cash to bring in as much scrap metal as they kind find or steal. Though, Arbor who seems the more desperate of the two with a bad temper and impulsive decides he will steal from his employer Kitten and get’s both he and Swifty into a really deep mess. Swifty in contrast has a wonderful disposition and loves horses in which are everywhere in the neighborhood.
The story really has legs even though YOU MUST USE THE SUBTITLES TO WATCH THIS FILM. It has very fast dialog and lot’s of poor people British slang so if you don’t have the subtitles on you won’t understand them. The directing is reminiscent of director Danny Boyle’s, Slumdog Millionaire, very raw in your face. This director Clio Bernard presents this story in much the same way. Troubled young boys in impoverished circumstances with very little supervision but good intentions. It was very bleak and sad with its gloomy cloud cover settings, and scrappy dirty looking people, with the back drop of a poor industry town. It was very heart wrenching and the young actors were brilliant carrying this film to the end.
The Sum Up: This film won lot’s of British awards last year for best this or that, because of the flow of the story and wonderful acting by unknown actors. Or I should say unknown to American audiences. With very little music and lots of bad language, this movie gets a ***Safety Alert***. Also the title sounds like it could be a movie for kids but it’s not. My movie score for this film is A, THEATER WORTHY, see this in theaters it’s that good. But since it’s on Amazon streaming and Netflix, you can watch it there. This is not a movie for the faint of heart as it’s got some pretty disturbing scenes. This movie is Not Rated.