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Stella, a young Glaswegian girl working as a prostitute in London, heads back to Glasgow with her new boyfriend and attempts to start a new life, but finds it difficult to break free of the cycle of abuse she has become trapped in. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
inferior riff on ANGEL needs subtitles for hideous UK ghetto dialect
Artsy Brit tv movie deals with the life and fantasies of a mature-looking teen prostitute on the streets of some urban combat zone in the UK. She has a pimp who treats her like a daughter, a father who treats her like a whore, a junkie b.f., and a few pounds in a postal savings account. But her life isn't all rosy. She has a thing about fire. Film tells what happens to her when she goes on her own.
Overall result is not especially rewarding. The 1984 US film ANGEL ("high school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night!") provided more coherent narrative and a vastly more satisfying treatment of similar material. If it's supposed to be a surprise that Stella has a sexual history with her father, it's telegraphed from their first scene together. The rest of the pic is just a wait to see what she's going to do about it. Otherwise, there's no onscreen evidence the writer got a passing grade in Plotting 101. This one seems to owe a lot in style and concept to the work of Dennis Potter (you have been warned), with bizarre fantasy and drab reality interspersed.
As a native speaker of American English, I would have been completely lost in this picture without the assistance of closed captioning. (Let's not hear anything more, *ever*, from the Brits about how we in the USA butcher the language, OK?) Accents and diction featured here make Belfasters sound like BBC news readers. Worst offender is lead Kelly Macdonald, of whose dialogue literally nothing is intelligible except the "f**k" or "f**king" she uses 2 or 3 times per sentence. The Celtic lilt is rather nice, though; does she ever work in English-language productions?
Direction and script are both much too artsy, tech credits are excellent at displaying the scabby underside of the UK, and the performers do what they can with the material. Atmosphere is plenty grubby and sleazy but no nudity or graphic sex is featured, which is overall a big plus for the production, though rather a surprise from a Brit TV movie.
On the IMDb meter I give this a 1, regretful that the scale does not include a 0 option. As Stella herself might have put it, "Gnghh f**k tnscrfa qpsllv f**king aqng mbzarky." Or something like that. You'll have to imagine the Celtic lilt.
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