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This film written by a fledgling Stephen Poliakoff and directed by Charles Sturridge wasn't given a proper theatrical release as far as I'm aware but was played a few times on television in the early eighties. It deals in a realistic and sometimes grim and dirty manner with the subject of teenage runaways, following the story of a girl who runs away from her (relatively loving) family to live in London. She ends up homeless, her parents don't hear from her and her father sets out to find her. Apart from an interesting if depressing soundtrack and some very memorable shots of desolate parts of London, dirty train stations and an empty indoor pool, the film does have a slightly TV-movie production quality to it, although perhaps this is because I only managed to see it broadcast. An interesting early work from Poliakoff.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a strangely annoying film, because it seems to be 2/3 of a good
film in many ways.
There are stories welcome ones that leave us with mysteries that tantalize us an because they are open can weave into our real lives.
This attempts that I think. I do not know the writer, but this seems his intent. We are never told why this girl runs away and why she so adamantly will not return. We never know what she does, with whom she lives, how she earns money. We don't know if there was sexual molestation involved, or prostitution, or some religious cult. We end up knowing nothing except that tensions and urges are significant.
It could have worked, but to do so, you have to find the story outside the story. The father is obsessive, but we don't know why. Well, even that could be open, but somewhere in the layers of what we unroll there needs to be some causality. It can be diffuse: the world is just that way but it has to be there. Because we need a thread to follow. It can be after we leave the theater. It can be way off to the side of what we've watched. It doesn't have to be connected by invisible strings to explain everything. But there has to be at least one causal hook that we can imagine runs through the thing.
Otherwise, its all just plastic bags blowing on the street.
I came to this because it has Jane Asher as a real actress in a substantial part. She was probably intended to be the embodiment of that missing causality. In fact, the role I imagine was intended, was probably written for her because she played a similar role in Beatle Paul's life. She could have done it, I think. But she is given only 2/3s of a character to play. And she simply enters and leaves without leaving so much as a smudge.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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