The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.
Films like Brassed Off, which seek to present a view of a sensitive issue, are often derided for not offering a solution which can be written on the back of a cereal box. Personally, I take that as a recommendation!
The point of the film is this: put people in situations that most of us will happily never face, and they react in extreme fashions. There was little or no 'political' argument, other than the fact that the Conservative Government of the time did destroy an entire industry. That same government them spent millions of pounds a year buying coal from Europe and South America. Angry? I would be.
I saw characters portrayed in their entirety, which meant 'scabs' and 'sellouts' rubbed shoulders with the committed and poor. I saw unflattering portraits of basically decent people, prepared to risk friendships and relationships to keep alive an industry which was killing them but without which they could not live. It was a desperate time, and the fact that families have been split since the 1984 strike shows just how deep feelings can run on this issue.
And I saw no skipping over the holes in the logic either. No mention of the 4-1 vote in favour of closing the mine? Half of the chuffing film was about that! What about the fate of Gloria's report? What about Phil, a striker from 1984, voting for closure? Did no-one notice that he was one of the major characters?
I do think that there were some problems with the structure of the film (although it was dramatically more satisfying than the Full Monty). Gloria was unconvincing; the wives were underused, and the speech at the end, yes, I found it embarrassing too!
But please, before you attack the veracity of such a rounded and honest film as Brassed Off, take the time and trouble to watch it properly first!
- Mar 23, 1999