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Regardt van den Bergh
Matthew Dylan Roberts
Eleven-year-old David Wiseman is mad about cricket but no good at it. He has the entire kit but none of the skill, and he's a laughingstock at school. So when a Jamaican family moves in next door and builds a cricket net in the back garden, David is in seventh heaven. But this is 1960s Britain, and when the neighbours start to make life difficult for the new arrivals, David's family is caught in the middle, and he has to choose between fitting in and standing up for the new friends who have turned his world upside-down. Written by
Not fantastic but a nice film that made for an engaging watch nonetheless
David Wiseman loves cricket and follows it religiously despite not actually being any good at it. His efforts to get onto the school cricket team start and end with doing the scoreboard while at home his collection of player cards takes up his time. When his Jewish neighbours move out, the Wiseman's find themselves dropping down the neighbourhood suspicion list as the new neighbours are Jamaican. The eldest of the family, Dennis, immediately uproots the roses in the garden and begins doing who knows what, to the amusement of the neighbours. However when it transpires that they have been making a set of cricket nets David ignores the community disapproval and starts to play with the Samuels family.
Featuring a handful of people from Eastenders, UK actors and one Hollywood star this film was a strange find at the cinema but it understandably didn't do a great deal while it was there. From the trailer it seemed that it was clearly going to be about overcoming prejudice and using cricket as a plot device for this. However watching the film it doesn't seem to completely ever decide if it wants to explore this, the relationship between Ruth and Dennis or a coming of age story surrounding David. Although it is perfectly reasonable that the film would try to combine all three of these, it doesn't really pull it off as well as it could have done. Instead of pushing one thread it runs a middle ground for each one of them and in fairness it does it well enough to make for an interesting film albeit one that is neither that charming or convincing.
The cast help hold the threads together by being consistent in their performances. Smith does well in his role although he is perhaps too easily pulled around by the mix of directions associated with his character even if he does do well scene to scene. Lindo was a surprise find in this film mainly because of how famous he is; his character is hardly complex but he is charismatic and talented enough to do well with it regardless. Woof has a strange character and suffers from the film not really sticking with her threads in all regards. Townsend is solid in support while the rest of the cast fill in round the edges well. Nobody is brilliant but the material doesn't really allow for that on many occasions.
Overall then a pretty enjoyable film. It tends to take the middle-road in several threads rather than pushing it out on any one, which does rather reduce the impact while rounding the film out to be more about the people than any one theme. Not fantastic then but a nice film that made for an engaging watch nonetheless.
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