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 »
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 »
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'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. He graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest ... See full summary »
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Two twelve-year-old boys, Romeo and Gavin, undergo an extraordinary test of character and friendship when Morell, a naive but eccentric and dangerous stranger, comes between them. Morell ... See full summary »
Archer, an intelligent character, refers to a Bible in Yugoslavian. There is no such language. See more »
What happened to yer face, Carlin?
I fell, sir.
[Carlin tries to talk but Mr Sands interrupts him]
Quiet! Speak when I tell you! Somebody hit you, eh? Answer, somebody hit you.
We know about you, sunny. Who was it?
I fell sir. On the stairs. Wasn't used to the concrete steps. Me own fault.
[...] See more »
Had the Borstal system not been abolished in 1982, Alan Clarke's controversial drama Scum could have been used as a potent form of crime deterrence, the film's gritty, documentary-like approach being so harrowing that any potentially delinquent viewers would surely think twice about flouting the law for fear of finding themselves banged up in a concrete hellhole with a bunch of sociopathic thugs. If shown as part of the school curriculum, teenage crime figures would surely have dropped quicker than Davis's pants in the film's notorious greenhouse rape scene.
Being buggered while potting plants is just one of the many dangers that face the young inmates of Scum's tough correctional facility. Even hard-nut Carlin (Ray Winstone) feels the pain, receiving a thorough beating from both his fellow cons AND the screws, before eventually establishing himself as 'the daddy'the top dog amongst the prisonersby cracking a few select skulls (his methods including the classic 'snooker balls in the sock' trick). Tensions run high when one of the inmates commits suicide after the death of his wife, but when Davis (Julian Firth), seriously depressed after his assault, slashes his wrists during the night, anger and resentment boil over, resulting in rioting.
Chock full of strong language, extreme brutality, and unflinching scenes of racism, suicide and rape, Scum is still extremely shocking stuff, even by today's standards, but is far from exploitative: director Clarke simply tells it like it is, showing us the harsh reality of life behind the walls of the UK's borstals, where every day is a lesson in survival. His film benefits greatly from memorable performances from the excellent cast, both young and old, and a genuine atmosphere of hopelessness. Don't expect an uplifting ending: this ain't no Shawshank Redemption.
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