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Intense, bleak but ultimately uplifting early road movie.
Britain just after the second world war must have been a grim place indeed. Still looking like a bomb site, with poor living standards, inadequate social services, stifling conformity and tough policing. Amid this bleak social landscape, Bogarde is a hopeless, alienated character fleeing from the police after a crime of momentary passion. He is joined by a scared and emotionally scarred small boy also on the run from a harsh reality. Their journey together is gruelling yet at the same time strangely aimless, as they focus on escaping the past with little idea of their future.
Like all good road movies, the journey changes the characters, as they are affected, enriched and ultimately redeemed by their own striving and by their personal interaction. Any more detail would spoil this story but you can be guaranteed of a fine reward at the end if you can stick with the grinding progress of this particular odyssey.
Filmed in suitably bleak black and white, there's a slightly too earnest quality about the way this movie strives to put everything in the worst possible perspective but that's when looked at from the comfortable perspective of half a century later when life is a lot softer for many of us. Go the distance with this one and you'll be a better person for it.
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