For his first feature Martin Bell returns to the terrain of his acclaimed 1984 BBC documentary Streetwise - a mournful portrait of runaway kids living hand-to-mouth in downtown Seattle. Ironically, this looks grimy and drab compared to its predecessor's vivid urgency; at the same time, the feature gives more coherent expression to the downbeat romanticism which sometimes felt unduly manipulative in the non-fiction film. Bridges is Jack Kelson, a middleweight ex-con trying to go straight; he hopes to save enough money to go to Alaska, but life isn't made any easier by his teenage son Nick's decision to stick by him no matter what. With dirty ponytail and battle-scar tattoos, Jack makes no bones about being out for himself: he kicks his son out of bed and then out of the apartment when he brings a woman to their bare room late at night. It's a credible, minimalist performance, and the sad-faced Furlong responds well as his son. Compassionate; moving; heavy-going.
Cast and crew
Tracey Tyla Kapisky