Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Dec 2 2008This is big-hearted social realism from Scottish director Kenny Glenaan, who impressed with his past television films ‘Yasmin’ and ‘Gas Attack’. More recently he directed two episodes of ‘Spooks’, which says something about what it means to be an independent filmmaker in Britain at the minute. This is part-meditative, part-knockabout stuff as Glenaan, working from a script by newcomer Hugh Ellis, gives us Shaun (Robert Carlyle) and Daz (Steve Evets), two down-on-their-luck blokes who share a filthy council house in the North with Daz’s teenage son and who live off the disability benefit received by Daz, who is in a wheelchair.
We know Daz used to be able-bodied as we see flashbacks of him and Shaun when they were kids and teens, living on the same estate and spending their days getting into trouble and chasing girls. The film dips in and out of the past, suggesting the source of current woes, from Daz’s drink problem, to the pair’s antagonistic interdependence and Shaun’s inability to let go of the past, especially when it comes to an old flame, Katy, who we discover has become a lawyer (Rachael Blake).
As a portrait of stasis brought on by poverty and a study of youthful abandon gone sour in the face of zero opportunities, this is sensitive stuff, even if there’s little that’s surprising. But the rapport between Carlyle and Evets allows for some welcome gallows humour, while Glenaan and Ellis’s decision to leave much mysterious – Where are we? Why is a young Scot living in the North of England? What’s unfolded in the intervening years? – helps to alleviate some of the more obvious elements of the plot.
Author: Dave Calhoun