Thanks to the helpfulness of a fellow IMDb member I've just managed to watch this film for the second time in nearly twenty years, and I can honestly say it hasn't lost any of its kick. I can't believe that Channel 4 have let this one vanish without a trace as it is an extremely powerful, moving and moralistic take on the consequences of misplaced loyalty.
It focuses on a clique of friends over the course of ten years and their relationship with two 'outsiders' from school; specifically how they use one and mercilessly torment the other. As events from both the past and present unfold the tension gradually thickens, not dissimilar to Shane Meadows' excellent revenge-chiller Dead Man's Shoes. The acting, writing and direction are very bold for 1983 and still pack a wallop today in spite of the upper crust accents of the central characters. Yes, it might be set in public school but it's worlds apart from anything put out by Merchant Ivory; I got a state education and can still draw countless parables from the story.
This is a film that you'll remember for a long time if you see it - except you probably won't, because Channel 4 (or FilmFour) have chosen to bury it. On their own official website they describe it as "an inexplicably overlooked gem from the early days of Channel 4" - overlooked by who? This was one of the very first Channel 4 films (which would later go on to become FilmFour thanks to the success of films like Trainspotting), so somewhere someone must still have the master print. In these days where you can get extended collector's issue DVDs of more or less anything it's a bit moody that they can't give a film this good the promotion it deserves.
So, if one of the Channel 4 production flunkies is reading this, stop making programmes that showcase people humiliating themselves in the hope of securing a tabloid deal, chase up this film and sort out a nice special anniversary edition disc or something, please!
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