7.3/10
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42 user 126 critic

The Selfish Giant (2013)

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Two thirteen year-old working-class friends in Bradford seek fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal.

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, (inspired by 'The Selfish Giant')
12 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Arbor
Shaun Thomas ...
Swifty
...
...
Mick Brazil
Everal Walsh ...
Railway Man (as Everal A. Walsh)
...
Kitten
...
Mary
...
Martin Fenton
Rebecca Manley ...
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton
John Wall ...
School Nurse
Mohammed Ali ...
Mo
...
Teacher
...
'Price Drop' Swift
...
Mrs. Swift
Bailey Clapham ...
Swift Child

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Storyline

An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13 year old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighborhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrap dealer. Wandering their town with just a horse and a cart, they begin collecting scrap metal for him. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor emulates Kitten - keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favors Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all. Written by Sundance Selects

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 October 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az önző óriás  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,589 (USA) (20 December 2013)

Gross:

$10,531 (USA) (3 January 2014)
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Company Credits

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clio Barnard based Arbor and Swifty on two children she met while filming The Arbor (2010) who worked as scrappers. See more »

Quotes

Policeman: This is a formal interview under caution. Do you understand that, Fenton? Hey, do you understand?
Arbor: Yeah.
Policeman: A witness saw two youths burning railway or communications cable.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton: That's nowt to do with him.
Policeman: Cable theft is a very serious crime, Mrs. Fenton. Trespass on the railway is £1,000 fine.
Arbor: I ain't been on railway.
Policeman: Vandalism, endangering lives, maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton: He's just a kid. He ain't nicked no cable. You're looking at wrong place.
Policeman: He is, as you say, Mrs. Fenton, a minor. ...
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Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Conspiracy
by Bill Brown
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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece that will hit you like a brick
13 October 2013 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

The Selfish Giant shows basically how capitalism works: not by making an academic movie with statistical figures, but by telling the highly capturing dramatic story of two teenagers in an English community who need to collect scrap to make ends meet.

They are no longer motivated in studying, because the bills need to be payed by the end of the month. At school they are expelled because of their frustrated behavior. Their family is in ruin due to the stress caused by not earning enough money.

In their quest for scrap they see how the best thief's also gain the most money. So eventually they turn to criminal behavior. Not by choice, but by necessity. Making money becomes separated from doing 'the right thing' to do.

The director does a good job not telling this as a straight forward moral tale, nor using sentimental 'tricks', nor trying to pretend that all ends well. But telling it as an illustration on a human level in an ordinary community where the downside of our economic model is not theory but reality.


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