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Brassed Off
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Brassed Off More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Solid British drama – bit depressing but makes good political statements and good human drama

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
14 May 2002

The Colliery Brass Band has survived two world wars, depressions and is still playing. However the threaten closure of the pit itself puts the band under threat – although many of the band fear the wider implications. Danny Ormondroyd remains focused on his music despite sickness and his son's spiral of debt. While a relationship between of the band turns sour when she is found to be working with the pit's management. The band's music becomes an allegory for the plight of the workers.

Released a year before The Full Monty made working class British comedy a Hollywood hit, this has a lot more realism and a lot more heart. The story deals mainly with the plight of the miners – betrayed and deserted by the Tory Government – and the bands corresponding struggle to survive and overcome. The metaphors are good but not heavy – basically the story can work if you don't see the parallels. The story works best due to the level of emotion the story carries. This has a lot of heart and builds to a wonderful standoff that brings a message without being preachy.

The cast are excellent. Postlethwaite is top class as Danny and delivers a metaphor for the dying mine itself – not interesting in politics, just trying to keep producing the ethics he always has but all the time knowing his time is coming. Equally as good is Tompkinson – a complex role, full of emotion and he deasl very, very well with it – to me his was the performance of the film. Fitzgerald is a little weak but a pre-Jedi McGregor is solid in support. The rest of the band is fleshed out by solid UK faces and do well.

Overall this is a great little film. It deals with heavy politics but mixes human drama effortlessly. It delivers message without preaching or shouting and it is driven by a fantastic cast.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Complete sucker

9/10
Author: Boyo-2
4 August 1998

I am a pushover for movies like this...I call them "The Little Engine That Could" movies, and this was one of the best. Enjoyed every moment, every line of dialogue, and cried like a baby at one point. I think that's what was intended.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

You'll Never Forget It

10/10
Author: raebari from Macon, GA
16 January 2008

Having rented a piece of c--p titled "Little Miss Sunshine" last week,I have given up on paying for what Hollywood deems quality filming. So I was surfing the movie channels, came across "Brassed Off," and what hooked this former USA marching band member was the gloriously rich music that accompanied the film's action. Everything politically important has been said on the previous 12 pages of this IMDb commentary, particularly about Thatcher, Reagan (and now Bush) and that ilk, who put profit above all and people last. This film, yes, does belong in the "full monty" category, but even more, it falls into the "Drum Line" category as well--the power that music has to lift people above their ordinary lives and to help them realize the depth of their humanity. This film, like "Drum Line," is an education in itself about musical traditions that millions are ignorant of. I was stunned at the richness of sound produced by a colliery band--no woodwinds to thin out the total effect.

The film also has echoes of "How Green Was My Valley," a film made in the 40's and set in Welsh coal-mining country, where male choral groups meet weekly and also compete in an annual national contest.

In addition, as an American tourist in Yorkshire, I loved the literary aspect of that area--Bronte country, if you will--being an English teacher, but this film was a cold slap in the face concerning the reality of the fate of men and women upon whose backs and blood the nation was enriched, and who are discarded, like rusty tools, when "conservative" economics trumpet the importance of "investors" over the fate of the workers in the industry. Yes, as one commentator pointed out, coal has no future in the 21st century, but short-sightedness and greed have ignored the need for other energy solutions that could have saved those Yorkshire communities and families, and which just might make the planet inhabitable for our grandchildren--if we don't continue to be stupid.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

One of few modern films from England, that deals with social issues and succeeds with its message.

8/10
Author: bengt_historiska from Stockholm, Sweden
25 February 2001

One of few modern films from England, that deals with social issues and succeeds with its message. There is one fault with it though. Now and then it falls into a rather deplorable sentimentality, especially the father and son characters, but the intentions are good and honest. It´s not often that political stories are funny, but this one is, at times. Highly recommendable.

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Fighting the Establishment

7/10
Author: gcd70 from Melbourne, Australia
26 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Strong, emotional drama about the little guy struggling against the rising tide, which includes enforced redundancy. Writer/director Mark Herman's film is really only an outcry against the 140 plus pit closures in England that have seen half a million jobs lost.

Though strong and entertaining throughout, this is no classic drama. The comedy, patchy at best, does reaffirm that the poms have the funniest sense of humour in the world.

Pete Postlethwaite is in top form, and he and his on screen son Phil (Stephen Tomkinson) give two dramatic turns that are the movie's biggest positive. Ewan McGregor is good too, though he doesn't get a chance to display his raw talent. Tara Fitzgerald, as the only female player in the colliery band, is also enjoyable. Support from Jim Carter, Ken Colley, Philip Jackson and Stephen Moore back these thesps up well. Trevor Jones backs up his orchestration of some snazzy brass numbers with his own melodic score. Recommended for music lovers.

Monday, February 16, 1998 - Hoyts Croydon

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Snail-paced, but spirited and heart felt

7/10
Author: pc95 from San Diego
6 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Brassed Off has an enjoyable cast with a heartfelt story of a local town's mine folds, and the way a bunch of the men cope - through a brass band. As a detraction, the film's pacing crawls especially in the first third of the movie. The band represents a good departure though and vehicle for economic commentary without becoming too bogged down in details. Always spectacular, Pete Postleswaite really helps bring emotion and determination in his performance as usual. He single-handedly leads the movie to a good show. Some of his band-mates also prove interesting including his son, whose story takes a lot of the screen-time in order to depict the real economic hardships that's befallen the locality. Ewan McGregor is here as more a supporting character and does a decent bit, but has been better. His role is more subdued. I'm sure this is compared to the Full-Monty, and while not as much fun or delivered as well, Brassed Off has the same spirit. Solidly recommended unless you cant stand slow pacing.

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Interesting and Inspiring Film

9/10
Author: PersianPlaya408 from Milpitas, California
26 August 2006

Mark herman's brilliant comedy/drama about a coalmine in a northern English village which is in danger of being shut down and finds some relief through a marching band lead by an oldtime, Danny (Postlethwaite). The film is inspiring although it uses some Hollywood like aspects which are unrealistic and far-fetched, i found Herman's screenplay to be intriguing and a good light-hearted film. His direction was solid and he got the best out of his cast, both Postlethwaite and McGregor were good while Fitzgerald was also good in this film. I liked the cinematography from Andy Collins and the use of music was pretty good as well seeing as the whole film as about music. Overall, a good light-hearted flick, different from most formulaic films. --- IMDb Rating: 7.0, my rating: 9/10

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Good but wasn't exactly for me

Author: coffeekid21 from Canada
31 May 2004

To truly appreciate this film, you have to either a) be from the British culture or b) have an interest in the politics that are behind trade unions and economics. I don't fit either of these descriptions so, personally, this was nothing special. If you're like me though and simply take `Brassed Off' for what it is, this is a decent film.

The biggest strength I perceived in this movie was it's acting. Pete Postlethwaite was wonderful playing the band leader, Danny. And he's well complemented by Ewan MacGregor and Tara Fitzgerald as well as, well, everybody else. The movie also works well thanks to some good script writing. The story is very much centered on the characters and as such, none of them are flat; all of them are clearly defined people.

This film is a comedy-drama but I didn't find it funny. The entire mood of this film is very somber, even dark. That said, if you like a bit of black comedy, you might get some good laughs out of this film.

So `Brassed Off' may not be for everyone. Still, if you like a good drama, this certainly worth your time. And if you fit either description at the beginning of this review, definitely watch it.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5.

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stirring

9/10
Author: R_O_U_S from United Kingdom
20 February 2004

Dismissed by many as The Full Monty without the stripping, this is in fact a far more thoughtful work. In a town ripped apart by mining redundancies, one man struggles to keep the colliery band going in the face of much apathy. Tension comes from the appearance of a brass instrument-playing pretty girl from `the enemy', and her relationship with one of the band, but the most memorable character is a part-time clown who spirals further and further into depression and self-loathing. The speech in the final scene is one of the most stirring moments in British cinema. You don't have to like trumpets to like this.

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A stunner from Film Four

9/10
Author: Stu (lespike) from Bournemouth, UK
14 December 2003

Having not seen this film for a good few years I found it in my video collection this afternoon and decided I'd give it a watch. Being about 14/15 on first viewing I remember the film being certainly a watchable one, but I wasn't prepared for the amount of emotion packed into the film that can only really be seen by one with a degree from the University of Life.

Pete Postlethwaite (Danny), always a dependable actor, proves his mighty worth in this film, perfectly portraying a man with only thing left in his life to keep him going, who then starts to discover this one thing will soon be pulled away from under his feet.

Along with Stephen Tompkinson (Phil) they show a huge amount of on screen chemistry, and genuine concern between the two for each others plights. This is also mirrored in the on screen relationship between Ewan McGregor (Andy) and Tara Fitzgerald (Gloria), which again is remarkable, and worthy of comment.

The film is also backed up in strong performances from a staple of good British actors, including Stephen Moore (McKenzie), Sue Johnston (Vera) and Jim Carter (Harry).

One thing also worth mentioning in this review is some of the Cinematography, which perfectly compliments the film, and at all the right places. Shots of some particular note are the Colliery shot in Concerto D'Aranjuez (preceeding the Union meeting, showing the Colliery backlit at Night) and the shot framing the Band as they arrive back in Grimley from the Band Semi-Finals - the almost backlit qualities of the shot, framed against the sky is simply breathtaking and beautiful.

In short, well worth seeing.

Whatever happened to Film Four eh? Used to make some right gooduns.

Stu (Please note I'm keeping well away from any of the political messages of the film in this review!)

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