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Small Time Obsession (2000)

 |  Drama  |  16 June 2000 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

Small Time Obsession is a story of love and betrayal set amongst South London's Polish community. Michael Korczynski has his heart set on training and racing greyhounds at his local stadium... See full summary »

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Title: Small Time Obsession (2000)

Small Time Obsession (2000) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ali
Jason Merrells ...
Oliver Young ...
Richard Banks ...
Kirsten Parker ...
Geoff Lawson ...
Giles Ward ...
Jurek Jarosz ...
Teresa Nowakowska ...
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Leonard Trusty ...
Danny Bowers ...
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Small Time Obsession is a story of love and betrayal set amongst South London's Polish community. Michael Korczynski has his heart set on training and racing greyhounds at his local stadium but is under pressure from his father to take charge of the family delicatessen. Steve is an orphan with a passion for classic cars and John is a talented musician struggling to come to terms with hid depressed mother. Both out of loyalty as friends and the need to earn money to keep their dreams alive, all three do work for amiable wide-boy, Chris, who seems to be heading inevitably towards a life of crime. This is further underlined when Chris forms a relationship with small-time villain Geordie, who is, in turn to manoeuvre himself into the established underworld. Unsettled by Chris's increasingly criminal ambitions. Michael becomes torn between loyalty to his friend and his own needs and desires which include an, as yet undisclosed, infatuation with Chris'long-standing girlfriend, Ali. However ... Written by Jean Lejuez <travelling.cherbourg@wanadoo.fr>

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independent film | See All (1) »

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When desire is not enough.

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Drama

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16 June 2000 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Lengyelek Londonban  »

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Someone I Should Love
Performed by Astrid
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User Reviews

 
Made for the right reasons.
10 October 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I think it is fair to say that if any film generates a wide variety of reactions it must be of interest and Small Time Obsession has definitely done that. In this case, it is all the more interesting because this is a small, micro-budget movie, made by a complete first-timer, which only received a limited cinema release in the UK. Apart from reviews in the majority of the UK's daily and Sunday newspapers, I am aware of television reports on CNN and Carlton TV's `London Tonight' programme as well as a two-page article on Polish London in London's `Evening Standard' newspaper.

The point I wanted to make, however, is that I do find it unfortunate that some reviewers seem to take such pleasure in finding fault with this film and it's director. For instance, one reviewer tells us that the film received a thrashing from the critics on its cinema release and this is simply not true. A number of reviews were indeed negative but then there were many that were very positive, as a simple search of the internet and a visit to the film's own website will show.

I say this because there seems to be a tendency to accentuate the negative aspects in all work from first-time filmmakers rather than the positive. A first film is, after all, by definition, more likely to be flawed than not because it is just that, a FIRST film. Where else is a new feature film director meant to learn his craft if not in front of a cinema audience? Surely directing TV, theatre, music videos or commercials is far from being a valid substitute. I would agree that he certainly doesn't deserve special treatment but, in this case, I cannot agree that the film does not, at least, show promise. Furthermore, this was a truly independent production, not backed by a TV company or the Lottery. It received a cinema release on merit and did not have the benefit of a multi-million dollar advertising budget. This, I would say, is an achievement in itself and, as a result, I think the film should, at least, be given a chance to find an audience because, as the positive reviews show, there certainly seems to be one.

Opinion is one thing but why some reviewers believe criticism has to be nasty, not to say patronising, is beyond me. Fair, informed and constructive criticism is both necessary and useful. Anything else is pretty pointless. Sometimes, it seems that reviewers are criticising the film the director was trying to make rather than the film he or she did make. They show a disappointment in the thinking behind the film rather than the film itself. In a sense, the reviewer is asking, `Who does he or she think they are?'

For example, one of the criticisms aimed at the film was that it was yet another British gangster film trying to cash in, I suppose, on the success of `Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. Well, as a trip to the film's website again clearly shows, the script was written well before `Lock, Stock' and actual filming started well before `Lock, Stock' had opened in the cinema. Why then does the film have to suffer because `Lock, Stock' and then a whole spate of similar films make it into the cinema first? Surely a film should be judged on it's own merits and not in comparison with other films. Furthermore, I think Small Time Obsession is much more than just a gangster film but even if it was, why is this so wrong? If the film is a blatant copy or shows us nothing new then it deserves to be criticised but this is certainly not the case with Small Time Obsession.

In my opinion, Small Time Obsession is quite clearly the result of a lot of thought, hard work and commitment and deserves to be handled with at least some degree of respect and forethought. For instance, a particular reviewer who did not like the film commented that he/she was surprised to see a lot of Polish people in the audience, thinking this was somehow a cynical promotional drive for the film. Why is this a surprise if the film deals with the Polish community? I think I would be surprised NOT to find Polish people in the audience because that really would be a bad sign. After all, I take it the tickets were not free. Also, this same reviewer was upset to see the director at the screening promoting his own film. Well, again, I don't understand why this is a surprise.wouldn't the director be prepared to do all he could to persuade people to see his film? How else is a director meant to know whether or not his or her film works in front of an audience if they never meet that audience? Finally, this same reviewer comments that he/she enjoyed a film called The Killing Zone much more than Small Time Obsession. It turns out that Small Time Obsession's director was one of the co-producers of and, in fact, edited The Killing Zone. Can the reviewer not find anything positive in that at least? It seems that the filmmakers involved have produced not one but two very competent and successful first films, both made on almost non-existent budgets. How can this not be a good thing? Why trash it?

As one daily newspaper put it `Small Time Obsession may not be perfect but it is a film with heart'. I believe this film was made for the right reasons. This is not cynical, self-indulgent or blatantly commercial filmmaking. There is no question the makers love films and are, at least, trying to entertain an audience. Surely this is to be encouraged. In conclusion, I would agree with another comment made by the above reviewer and encourage you to take all reviews with a pinch of salt and make up your own mind by seeing the film for yourself.




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