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Smith’s take is far gentler and poetic than the stage incarnation, a sort of wistful coming of age story shot through with an undercurrent of pure dread. It follows teenage lads Carl (‘Submarine’s Craig Roberts) and Stephen (Joe Cole) as they perambulate around a snowy south London: morosely funny Carl is about to leave for university; Stephen’s glib demeanour fails to conceal the fact he is struggling to cope with his friend’s impending departure and the pressure of caring for his seriously ill mum.
In a troublingly tender piece of filmmaking, Smith neither exonerates nor condemns his protagonists, but simply allows the terrible act committed by Carl and Stephen to appear like an extension of their adolescent uncertainty.