This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or... See full summary »
Trevor is a 16 year old, sometimes-violent skinhead with no regard for authority, and would rather spend his time stealing cars than sitting in the detention centre to which he is sent. His... See full summary »
The family of Raymond, his wife Val and her brother Billy live in working-class London district. Also in their family is Val and Billy's mother Janet and grandmother Kath. Billy is a drug ... See full summary »
Two girls escape from an open borstal for two very different reasons; Annetta to attempt to visit her baby daughter, who is being raised in a convent; and Carol, who hopes to be recaptured ... See full summary »
Cocky cockney snooker player Billy Kid accepts the challenge of a grudge match from Maxwell Randall (the Green Baize Vampire), six times world champion; the loser will never play ... See full summary »
London, 1965: Like many other youths, Jimmy hates the philistine life, especially his parents and his job in a company's mailing division. Only when he's together with his friends, a 'Mod' ... See full summary »
This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this TV film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform... See full summary »
This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power struggle between the 'tough' new inmate and the 'old hands'. The film was originally made as a BBC play but it was banned before ever being shown. So 'Alan Clarke' and 'Roy Minton' got it re-made as a film. This is a tough and brutal film and should not be viewed lightly. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
David Threlfall, who originally played Archer in the BBC version of Scum (1977), was offered the role in the movie but was unavailable owing to prior commitments with the Royal Shakespeare Company. See more »
Archer, an intelligent character, refers to a Bible in Yugoslavian. There is no such language. See more »
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
Tough thief Carlin (Ray Winstone) is transferred from his previous borstal after assaulting a prison officer to a much tougher institution where force and fear is the ultimate currency. The film follows the fortunes of him and the other inmates there and Carlin's relentless quest to come out as 'the daddy' among the other hard-case cons...
Nowadays, many people complain about the shambolic state of British Justice (once the envy of the world!) and, significantly, how Young Offenders Institutions are now just converted holiday-camps for those sent there who scoff at their lamentably lame punishment. Yet the very purpose of this film, made over 20 years ago, was to show the abuse of human rights that was taking place at the time in the borstals in Britain and to get something done in the way of changing it.
Having chosen a crime-free life in my youth and thus never being sent to a borstal (and not knowing of anyone who did!) I would have no way of knowing if the events portrayed in this film really took place, but if they were as bad as this, the film very chillingly gets them across. It's another one of those cult films where there's no real actual plot (i.e. Trainspotting) par se, but in it's drama function it very involvingly depicts the trials and tribulations of the inmates in their struggle to survive in the oppressive, violent world of the borstal and their individual characteristics that ultimately determine whether they'll come out on top or not. The bleakness of their world is further emphasized by the film's clever absence of a soundtrack.
As for the performances, Winstone cemented his future success with his ground-breaking performance here as the foul-mouthed, hard-cased, cockney to the bone 'daddy' who fights to come out on top in a world of aggression. All of the supporting cast do wonders in their individual roles do wonders to, especially those portraying the prison officers who are not far separated from the very thugs they're meant to be controlling.
Scum is a film that is thoroughly deserving of it's cult status, a film that spurned those in power into action and, though dealing with issues that are nowhere near as bad as back then, is no less as shocking and disturbing. *****
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