04 Mar

Skunk (played by Charlie Booty, Lily James and Eloise Laurence) has grown up well beyond her 11 years. Her mother left her father, Archie (by Tim Roth) a few years back and he has done his best to bring her up, along with her brother, Jed (by Bill Milner) ever since. Kasia (by Zana Marjanovic) lives in and sees to the children’s needs. She manages to find the time to have her own life in the house as well. They all live in North London in close quarters with their neighbours. The families in the street all have their challenges, but they try to put a brave face on it for the rest of the world. Since she was born, Skunk has never been in the best of health and Archie keeps a pretty close eye on her – so she sometimes doesn’t get outside much. One day, she is watching the street from her bedroom and sees her neighbour, Rick (by Robert Emms) get assaulted by another neighbour, Bob Oswald (by Rory Kinnear). She rushes to help Rick and befriends him. She doesn’t realise Rick suffers from mental illness so she doesn’t really understand his quirky behaviour. The street is thrown into chaos as the assault is exposed and other neighbours start to get involved too. Skunk tries to keep her own life fairly straighforward, but there’s always such a lot going on areound her – at home, at school, with friends … and all she wants is to be happy …

What a remarkable movie this is. “Broken” is quite accurate for this ensemble of characters. It starts off innocently enough but soon the viewer becomes intrigued with Skunk and her world. This girl has dealt with a lot and she is quite worldly-wise, but innocent at the same time. The street is a microcosm of general society – there’s unhappiness, disappointment, delight, excitement, anxiety, voilence and joy all within these tiny homes. As Skunk, Eloise Laurence’s performance is very good, she is quite believable as this girl growing up and experiencing the world for the first time. Robert Emms’ performance as Rick is superb – that would have been such a challenging role to portray and he has done very well. The very unpredictable and violent Bob Oswald is played to frightening perfection by Rory Kinnear and in 2012 he won Best Supporting Actor in the British Independent Film Awards for this work. This is a street where you want to be very sure who your neighbours are and (more importantly) what they are thinking. It’s a movie where nobody is particularly happy, but it’s good. It’s based on a novel by Daniel Clay and it won the Best British Independent Film in the British Independent Film Awards of 2012.

Made in 2012. Directed by Rufus Norris.

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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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