"Friends and Crocodiles" traces the changing relationship of maverick entrepreneur Paul Reynolds and his assistant Lizzie Thomas over a period of 20 years from the beginnings of the Thatcher era to the bursting of the dot.com bubble.
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"Friends and Crocodiles" traces the relationship of maverick entrepreneur Paul Reynolds and his colleague Lizzie Thomas over a period of 20 years from the beginning of the Thatcher years to the rise of the electronic age and the dot-com bubble. Paul persuades Lizzie to work for him as his personal assistant, and becomes her mentor. She is inspired by his drive and creativity, but appalled by his lack of organisation and occasionally destructive anarchic lifestyle. After she calls the police to terminate an extravagant party which has got out of hand, they part, vowing never to meet again, but, over the years, their paths continually cross, as Lizzie rises through the corporate world and Paul's fortunes rise and fall. The play is an examination of the nature of personal relationships where work and ideas are more powerful drivers than sexual emotions, and also a panoramic view of the rapid changes in British society in the '80's and '90's. Written by
The title refers to a baby crocodile that main character Paul owns. Paul says he thinks something can be learned from crocodiles because they survived the meteor that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. See more »
Why is it that I think about you so much? Why is it that often, you're the first thing I think of in the morning? When I wake, you know? What would Paul say about this, about what I'm about to do? What would Paul feel about that? What's that called, Paul? Going bonkers, probably. Why is it happening?
Because we were born to work together, but we couldn't manage it. And we can't stop thinking about it.
And that's my fault, I suppose?
Absolutely not. People need to work with other people that ...
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A summary of British society from Thatcher till the present through the eyes of two volatile business people
Friends and Crocodiles follows the career of Paul, a brilliant entrepreneur who has made his fortune from retail. As well as being talented, he is also feckless and unstable. We open in 1981, when Paul is the owner of a beautiful country house set in a vast estate (echoes of Richard Branson's purchase of The Manor near Oxford a few years earlier). We then follow Paul's volatile career, which becomes intertwined with that of Lizzie, a talented manager, whom he recruits as his PA from a local estate agent. She brings order to the chaos of the house, which Paul has filled with an assortment of freaks who are all expecting to make it big in something. Lizzie storms out of his employment after a stunt at one of Paul's parties puts people in danger and as the years progress their paths cross at intervals, their relationship slowly mutating into one of grudging mutual respect. Despite the chaos he creates around him, it is his judgement that she ends up respecting, against the entrenched wisdom of the whole business establishment.
The film is a sharp, accurate and very involving tour of Britain over the last quarter century, through the high noon of Thatcherism, the wobbling confidence of the Major years, the dot com boom and the subsequent meltdown, through to the present. The lunacies, the technologies, the pain and the silliness. Maybe you had to live through it and suffer with it for Friends and Crocodiles to work. But even without that it's a vision very difficult to ignore.
Nowhere on television have I seen colour used as it is here. Almost every shot is a work of art, which of course makes it sound pretentious. It isn't pretentious on screen -- just a succession of startling, highly unusual and often very beautiful images. In some ways reminiscent of Fellini's movies, but more rooted in the everyday.
Underpinning it are the expert performances of Damian Lewis as Paul and Jodhi May as Lizzie, which are crisp, sharp and utterly believable.
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