I became aware of this last November whilst studying British TV Drama in University. I was immediately sucked into the world of Jimmy Boyle. He is to me a fascinating figure. I do not believe in giving criminals a celebrity platform and his criminal activities hold very little interest for me. What does captivate me is his persona and his talent as a sculptor. This man is made of cast iron strong will. This film perfectly captures this and it does it in a way that after 1 Hour and 30 minutes you believe to know the real Jimmy Boyle.
Written by native Glasweigian Peter McDougal & directed by long time collaborator and fellow Scotch Scot John MacKenzie we are transported into 1960's Glasgow. We are made vulnerable to society that Jimmy Boyle has grown up in. He is from a deprived working class tenement and we become very aware that he makes a living through his menace. The story is set by presenting him in this light. We move very quickly his life on the outside. Also during this time we also see the good side of Jimmy Boyle. He is well liked and he will give money to the neighborhood kids whose parents wouldn't have money.
He finally gets sent down for murder and this is when the film really begins. In Boyles own words he began making his own rules up. He was not reacting so much against the prison system and incarceration but he was reacting to the treatment of prisoners. He feels violated by the staff because he is nothing more than an animal to them and that is the way he treated. His strong will is displayed by the harsh beatings he receives and the amount of time he spends in solitary confinement. During this time we see him evolve psychologically he repeats his name so that he can remember who he is. He contemplates suicide all these scenes are extremely powerful and are very well acted by David Hayman.
Hayman is very believable as Jimmy Boyle. His face acting certainly portrays the characters thoughts and emotional turmoil. He is in my opinion a very fine actor and very consistent in everything I have seen him in. Another mention I will give is to the cinematographer Chris Menges who is surely a master of his craft. he has worked with best directors in England and America in his time and it is obvious that his skill of capturing and presenting moving images is up their with Conrad L. Hall and Robert Richardson.
Like it or loathe it A sense of freedom should be watched by any budding film makers (actors,writers,directors). Certainly one of Scotlands finest film exports ever.
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