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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent and thoughtful

Author: Colin Roth ( from Sheffield, UK
29 May 2000

Intelligent and thoughtful, this tv play tackles the difficult and complex problems raised by religious and other cults, the way they isolate their members from the outside world and build barriers around themselves to prevent intrusions. It's subtle, especially in comparison with a recent film with Kate Winslett on the same subject, perhaps too subtle in its ironic substitution of material goods for spiritual: this cult is capitalist, selling electrical goods rather than religious dogma. But although the comments here already show that this is a provocative and controversial film, I wanted to record my own positive reaction to it: I found it valuable and challenging - and it's not only the lovely Anna Friel who disrobes; there's an early sighting of all of the increasingly splendid Jonathan Rhys-Myers to enjoy. If you can get sight of it, I think this is worth viewing.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Bound to have to wait for the re-runs

Author: rocketbob from Castleford, England
9 November 2001

The Tribe, without a doubt is a fantastic piece of screenplay. I think drama's of this quality are few and far between and all concerned in its creation, including actors / actresses should take pride in the work that has been produced and directed masterfully. Despite numerous emails to the BBC in London, they still declare that they have no plans to release this work either as video or DVD media. This is such a shame for now we are bound to have to wait for the repeat which may never come.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes, style is better than substance . . .

Author: Stuart Ian Burns from Liverpool, England
3 April 2001

Dropped from a theatrical release and shown late on BBC2, 'The Tribe' iso one of the 150 films made each year in Britain which fails at the distribution hurdle. Which is a shame, because as an experience there are few films as strange, tingly and beautiful.

A reluctant Northam finds himself in the position of having to evict a long standing cult from a fabulous piece of real estate. He is amazed to find a group of people who seem to be happy to live within on the edges of society, who are happy with their own company but happy to use the world around them from nature to people as they see fit. As he is drawn into their world he finds that he can only be the agent of its destruction.

It's a theme which in many ways was covered a little more successfully in 'Pleasantville' and in countless films about rain forests. Working better in this film is the theme of the outsider in society - the twist being how much like them we would like to be. Years before 'The Matrix' we have people in long black coats striding arrogantly through their landscape, through city parks and the inner city. The bystanders look on with a mixture of discust and envy.

Richardson offers an enigmatic performance, as do the other 'are you in it too?' members of the tribe. Like Northam we don't know who they are and its at only very infrequent moments that we see the cracks below their reserve. By offering such understated performances, we find ourselves trying to reflect into them. Our imaginations try to work out their former lives.

Whilst we know the ending is innevitable, like the lead character we are happy to be taken along for the ride . . .

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Uplifting and beautiful

Author: Anig-2 from London, England
13 August 2002

This film is about a concept which most people don't tend to think about: how could a group of people isolate themselves from surroundings which they don't like and manage to lead a paradisiac life? Admittedly the story is sometimes a bit silly, but if you complain about these things you're missing the point, which is about how willing people might be to leave their current life, job, wife, etc. I really liked this film, and it's a shame it's not available to buy.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Haunting, poetic and brilliant

Author: peter goddard ( from Hampshire, England
30 January 2001

In a time when T.V programmes are either shoddy new ideas or made-over remakes of old classics it's nice to see something fresh, controversial and brilliant. The `Tribe' is probably the finest, original and engaging T.V film drama to make it's way on to our T.V screens in years. Written and directed by one masterful Stephen Poliakoff, the man behind such classics as, among others, the T.V series `Shooting the Past' and the excellent film ` Close my eyes', here comes the greatest, and sadly winner of no awards, T.V film of 1998. The `tribe' has one rare thing most T.V films now lack, a decent script. It's with this script he helps paint his vivid image of an underworld of modern suburbia in which a bizarre cult live, oblivious to the decaying and messed up world around them. They create their own world with their own rules to which Jamie has to learn to accept before he can even begin to understand them and their ways. It is also through Poliakoff's beautifully handled direction which he helps to create his dream like world where fantasy and fiction more often than not collide and slowly merge in to one. It is also in Poliakoff's use of a `Lock, Stock' style yellow filter which helps enforce the films dream like narrative and gives the film a feel which can only be compared to Stanly Kubricks final master work `Eyes Wide Shut'. But it is really down to the acting which really bring Stephen Poliakoff's film to life. Jeremy Northam and Anna Friel turn in excellent performances as usual as the property developer and the girl who seduces him. But it's Joely Richardson's `tour de force' performance which really steals the show. Her character is complex, powerful yet physically naked as we see what her real life is like outside of the one she created. She lives with her mother and father who couldn't really care less about her. It is for this reason she has created her own world where the troubles of everyday life are non-existent. The whole cult live in the centre of a big city yet are so detached from the other people who in-habit the city they feel truly free.This can be seen in the hippie symbolism at the beginning of the film. It is because of these such deep and complex story lines that I feel Stephen Poliakoff is the second greatest person working on T.V today, the first being Chris Morris. As this film was never released on tape means it is hard to find. But it is worth checking out if you can get hold of a copy as you will be in for a real treat.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Stylish art or pretentious crap

Author: leon-34 from Hyde, Cheshire
17 January 1999

I'm slightly more in favour of summing this film up as stylish art than I am of condemning it as pretentious crap. There is some good camera work, good editing, and occasionally an evocative mood. There are some good performances, but film does have its limitations - it's a TV movie, but a good one.

If the central theme of the film is the tension surrounding those who dare to be different and their rejection by society then it is hardly surprising that by siding with them the film attracts negative comments. Or it may be that it is just crap. Except the BBC don't make crap films. We may not like what they do, but the production quality, scripts, etc. are always excellent.

So I'll come out in favour. It may not be high art, but at least it's got style and something to say.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: enigmadebuck from London
12 September 2001

I really liked this. It was really nice to see so refreshingly different. I thought it was interesting to explore how such a 'tribe' such as that featured in the film might survive in todays world and how they would work to stand together and overcome intolerance and fear of others who refuse to understand or live and let live. Also good to see such great British actresses as Laura Fraser and Anna Friel on our screens.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Utter Genius

Author: johnathan_killroy ( from Hampshire, England
6 February 2001

Stephen Poliakoff is a true genius and this is him at his best. The Tribe, in my opinion, succeeds on many levels. On one level it is a simple tale of seduction and cultural repression but on the other hand it can be seen as a statement for the state of society today. It represent what society does to those people who seem different towards them. They are no threat towards anyone but as they decide to go their own way in life the rest of the world seem to feel that they need to do something about them. Poliakoff's use of startling colours and majestic sweeping settings help to create a world which is the one we live yet so distant and alien like it doesn't seem to have any connection to ours at all. I feel this is one of the greatest T.V programmes of all time and highly underrated for what it is. As the BBC never felt fit to release this on any format, in any country it is very hard to get hold of. But it is worth checking out if you can lay your hands on a copy.

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Interesting take

Author: wildblueyonder from United States
23 December 2014

I enjoyed the movie a lot. Its an interesting take on how people can and/or do view society, as opposed to how they can/do act on that.

Not sure why I have to write 10 lines of text, guess this is why I haven't written many reviews. Is that 2?

Fitting, however, certainly the theme of the movie is conformity and its a fascinating theme for me.

Its a thinking movie, I gave it an 8.

Hate to give away anything, watch it, decide for yourself! That 10 lines yet?

Guess not. The movie is a take on counter-culture vs. mainstream, IMO, it was intelligent enough to hold my interest and I enjoyed it.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not one of Poliakoff's best

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
28 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When property developer Jamie is given the task of removing a group of tenants from a building his boss wants to redevelop he knows it won't be the easiest of tasks… the last person given the job quit and emigrated to New Zealand! These aren't ordinary tenants; they are a group that all dress in black and many believe is actually a cult; even the locals who seem rather feral give them a wide birth. As expected they rebuff Jamie's offer but he is intrigued by them; especially their leader Emily. They know his intentions but don't attempt to prevent him from entering the building; indeed they invite him to come to their 'open day'. Here he learns the true nature of the group, how they fund themselves and the somewhat unconventional relationships between them. As the story progresses he is drawn into their world just as it is about to implode; their only protection is that people fear them; as soon as one person stands up to them their aura of menace has gone and they are suddenly vulnerable.

This isn't one of Stephen Poliakoff's best productions but it is still reasonably entertaining. The cast features plenty of well known actors; including Trevor Eve, Joely Richardson, Anna Friel and Jeremy Northam all of whom put in solid performances. The initial premise works well; the idea of a group acting like a cult but actually getting by selling high end Japanese electronics is rather fun but I couldn't buy the locals; they seemed almost feral, intimidating anybody from outside but steering clear of the group until a child confronts them. Before it was broadcast it was clear that the BBC weren't convinced they could sell it on the premise alone and aired trailers that strongly implied Anna Friel would get undressed; viewers who tuned in to see an attractive actress completely naked won't be disappointed but that really shouldn't a selling point for a good drama. As well as the nudity there is some swearing that some viewers might not like; although it is probably not the sort of programme that would appeal to people who might be offended. Overall I'd say it is worth watching if you are a fan of Stephan Poliakoff's other works; just don't expect too much.

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