You've run out of options, no school, no job. Steal a car, smash a shop with a heavy car and reap the proceeds! This movie is about underground England. The causes, the benefits, and the result of a life of 'crash and carry.'
Lone group of teens, led by recently released joyrider and his disenchanted Belfast girlfriend, strives to leave their mark on "a British city in the near future" while attempting to avoid a rival gang. Scenes of joyriding and ram-raiding, which attempt to portray the addictiveness of fast driving whilst also showing the downside (the effect on the community and ultimately death)Written by
Andrew Welsh <email@example.com>
Shopping is set in a shabby, dark, crumbling post-industrial UK city in the early 90s. Blast furnaces and abandoned factories line the roads, battered old Ford Escorts, Sierras, Capris and early 90s BMWs are everywhere. The plot centres around a grim inner city estate of dilapidated tower blocks and deals with the aspirations of some of its residents.
Jude Law plays self-destructive Billy McKenzie, a 19 year old nihilistic man who despises his society and hates his life. His older girlfriend Jo (played by Sadie Frost) is tired of the scene Billy is involved with, car theft, joy riding and ram raiding, but cannot drag him out of it. Sean Pertwee gives a good performance as another petty criminal Tommy, whose interests have grown to include shifting stolen goods, drugs, organised crime and generally more aspirational ideals.
After being released from his first three-month tenure in prison, Billy immediately seeks out his old mates and gets back into his old ways. Tommy initially tries to make an ally of him with stories of organisation and easy money, but Billy is only interested in getting respect from the estate and destruction and adrenaline and soon makes himself an enemy of Tommy and his crew, with ultimately tragic consequences.
Whilst the screenplay and direction are excellent, the film is totally let down by its script. Many of the character's exclamations and reposes are less than natural, some are downright baffling and some leave you cringing in your seat. It's not consistently bad, there are also genuinely heart wrenching moments and some excellent quotes, but you will also find yourself burying your head in your hands at other points and thinking "nobody says that!". Billy's two mostly annoying mates are stereotypes of stereotypes and there's also some representations of dark and dingy illegal "raves" that are... well, preposterous.
But when all's said and done, despite the cheesy moments in the script, it's a good movie. The story, all the action aside, is really about Billy's seething self-hate and unwillingness to love and be loved. The cars, the ram-raiding, the police, Tommy, the estate... it's all just a backdrop to the story of the slow and tragic destruction of an depressed young man caught in a world he has learned only to hate.
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