A young woman grows up in working class Cheshire in this impressive drama
It can sometimes feel like we only see working class Brits on screen yelling across grey inner-city tower blocks or scraping by in a ramshackle cottage in the countryside. Which makes ‘The Violators’ refreshing: the movie focuses on an estate of terraced houses in a rundown suburb in Cheshire and deals with how the most society’s most vulnerable can be manipulated by those around them.
The story follows Shelly (Lauren McQueen), a mouthy but naive 16-year-old who’s forced to play mum to her two brothers. Shelly is coming to terms with the fact that her abusive dad is about to be let out of prison when she meets local pawnbroker, debt collector and all-round creep Mikey (Stephen Lord). As Mikey attempts to seduce her, Shelly is brought into the path of middle class teenager Rachel (Brogan Ellis). They begin an intense, confusing friendship with undertones of sexual chemistry. The film’s strengths lie in its sense of authenticity.
It’s the directorial debut of novelist Helen Walsh and details as small as the actresses’ eyebrows reveal huge amounts about their characters. It’s also cleverly shot. In a number of scenes featuring Mike, the camera lingers on Shelly’s neck or legs for just long enough to give us the sense we’re seeing her through the eyes of the predatory man. Unfortunately, the film ends disappointingly. When Rachel’s motives are revealed, the result feels more ‘Hollyoaks’ cliffhanger than memorable social commentary or coming-of-age drama.
Cast and crew