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Those who have seen Shane Meadows' camcorder gem Smalltime will already know the young writer/director is one of Britain's most promising talents. This, his first full length feature, lives up to expectations splendidly. Though it's never quite as funny as the earlier movie, and the bigger (£1.5m) budget has resulted in more conventional characterisation and plotting, the extra polish comes with no significant drop in energy, flair or invention. Darcy (Hoskins) decides to inject a sense of community and purpose into the disaffected youth of a Nottingham suburb by reopening a club. While determination and a canny ability to win over most people he meets results in camaraderie and a modicum of sporting success, resentment, cynicism and even violence are so deeply ingrained in certain locals that the club is never entirely without enemies. What lifts the film beyond the constraints of this potentially corny story is Meadows' engagingly blend of authentic naturalism, robust rapscallion humour, jaunty editing and off-the-cuff lyricism.

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Shane Meadows
Screenwriter: Shane Meadows, Paul Fraser
Cast: Bob Hoskins
Danny Nussbaum
Bruce Jones
Frank Harper
Annette Badland
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