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Christmas 1988. Soulmates, woody and Lol find themselves in exile from each other and the gang. Trying to understand the definition 'growing up', Shaun begins a course at College, that quickly takes the wrong turn.
The year is 1990, the rave scene has just entered England. The sound of the Stone roses lurks toward Shaun and the gang. This means that Woody and Lol are living in a domestic bliss, they are happy again. But this year will see huge changes in everyone. This is the year 1990. This is England.
Lyra Mae Thomas,
Two teenagers, both newcomers to London, forge an unlikely friendship over the course of a hot summer. Tomo is a runaway from Nottingham; Marek lives in the district of Somers Town, between King's Cross and Euston stations, where his dad is working on a new rail link. The boys are both infatuated with the same girl, and pass their days bickering over which of them loves her the most. Finding himself homeless, Tomo surreptitiously moves into Marek's bedroom - but it's only a matter of time before Marek's dad discovers what's going on... Written by
Neil Young, Sunderland
You and I should ride the tracks and find ourselves just wading through tomorrow.
While I did have a few more problems with Somers Town than with Shane Meadows' other works it really is another wonderful piece of imperfect art here from the midlands maestro (don't even ask me why I've gone into excess hyperbole mode, sorry).
The story, a rather slight one actually, concerns the arrival of young Nottingham lad, Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) in London and his trouble finding his way until he meets and befriends young Marek (played by Piotr Jagiello). There's a girl involved (Maria, played by Elisa Lasowski) to keep things a little bit tense between the pair and there are a number of little trials they go through while trying to stick together in the face of adversity.
The performances here were wonderful, Turgoose backing up all the praise he has received since his appearance in the brilliant This Is England (also a Meadows movie) and the newcomers all performing in a fantastically natural manner in front of the directors unobtrusive camera. And this is underscored at times by a wonderful soundtrack that's well worth mentioning.
I was slightly put out by the first 5-10 minutes of Somers Town but the rest of the movie made up for that and carried me along on some bizarre, surreal and yet all too mired in reality, young man's odyssey. The black and white cinematography (used for approximately 95% of the movie and only giving way to colour at the very end) was nicely shot and never really jarred while watching something that, indeed, felt like a selection of good and bad memories from a certain period of adolescence.
And I was very, very impressed by Meadows not making the father figure the ogre that Marek often made him out to be. Mariusz (played by Ireneusz Czop) was very close to how any father could be in the situation he found himself and his son in and the movie was all the better for not succumbing to any clichéd performance/characterisations. All of the relationships in the movie were actually very sweet, warm and "real" as shown. Even the friendly, yet strict, café owner is believable. Not one note actually rings false in any of the performances, my only complaint was how Meadows established the harsh reality of the situation and then proceeded to ignore it as the lads managed to frolic around and lose themselves in a Summer of fun and frolics. Yep, I said frolics.
It's definitely not up there with his best, as far as I'm concerned, but Meadows has certainly crafted another little gem here that should please fans of his work and stand proudly as a snapshot of England seen through the eyes of those struggling to settle in their own skin.
See this if you like: This Is England, TwentyFourSeven, King Of The Hill.
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