Night time on the streets of Southend, and a dazzled 11-year-old schoolboy wanders through the floodlit aftermath of an auto accident, transfixed by the chaos with which the grown-ups can hardly cope. He teams up with his 11-year-old mate and the two stage their own happening, a knife-fight that goes slightly wrong and puts one in hospital and the other on the run through the night. School hasn't a clue, the hospital is a ringing void, the cops don't know where to begin, and the only ones left in Thatcherite Britain with any energy are the kids, with nothing to do except bugger about. Frears' film (scripted by Stephen Poliakoff and originally made for TV) has dark humour, a taste for the surreal aspects of this crashed world, and a head-on energy which leaves most contemporary offerings on the state-of-the-nation looking distinctly lame. CPea.