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Best friends David and Emily enjoy their carefree life in a coastal caravan park. When they learn that Emily is being forced to move away, David he agrees to help her hide out in a remote cave on the beach. Emily's absence soon becomes complicated, as David watches the effect on her family and police suspect one of their neighbors of involvement. When Emily tells David the real reason she wants to hide, his world is shattered. With his complex feelings for Emily growing stronger due to their shared hidden existence, David takes action. Written by
A tragedy of lost childhood - a tremendously assured directorial debut.
Director Tom Harper could have asked for no better calling card than this debut feature film. 'The Scouting Book For Boys', starring the burgeoning talent of Thomas Turgoose (known for his lead in Shane Meadows' 'This Is England'), is a dark story that follows the experiences of two friends on the cusp of adolescence, experiencing the tragedy of growing up far too fast as a result of the situation they plunge themselves into.
David (Turgoose) and Emily (played by Holly Grainger) are best friends living in the idyllic solitude of a Norfolk caravan park. Their sheltered lives are shattered when Emily is told that she will have to move away to live with her Dad, and so together the two plan to hide Emily in a nearby beach cave. The resulting police search reveals secrets about Emily that David was unprepared for; with his feelings for her growing stronger by the day, and with the real reason for her running away becoming clear, David's romantic existence unravels into a nightmare of strange, conflicting emotions.
The success of this film lies in the fact that the director and writer (Jack Thorne) have managed to capture that sense of desperate adolescent obsession. The teenage protagonists are created faithfully. There is never any inclination to patronise their confused emotions - instead, the intensity of feeling provides the main dramatic impetus, as the dynamic of a childhood relationship begins to change drastically in the face of responsibilities which they are simply not capable of dealing with.
Cinematographer Robbie Ryan in this film creates a love ballad for the Norfolk coast, drenching his shots in golden hues and hazy stretches of empty beach, superbly capturing a landscape caught halfway between land and sea. His work makes the tragic violence of the final scenes all the more unbearable, emphasising to the audience how far these teenagers have come in the course of the narrative, ripped from the dappled summers of childhood into the dank half-light of a cold cave.
The leading performances from Turgoose and Grainger carry the audience forward into the darkness of the final plot twists. Thomas Turgoose is undoubtedly an intriguing acting talent, creating in his character a restrained yet emotionally potent portrayal of adolescent love/obsession. Holly Grainger is admirable as the independent teenage girl who thinks she can take on the world and all it throws at her, unable to recognise how out of her depth she really is. The way she moves from being in complete control to utter dependence on David underlines an impressive understanding of Emily's emotional desperation.
The final turn of the plot has the potential to estrange some viewers, as the director leads his audience to the brink of emotional distress. But the layering of the film requires the charting of fallen innocence to be fully realised, and the director doesn't flinch at its execution. This is a daring introduction to the world of feature film for Tom Harper; its release marks the arrival of a significant new talent in the U.K. film industry.
James Gill --- Find more reviews at http://web.me.com/gilljames/Single_Admission
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