Shaun and Daz are vibrant kids, wasted by their experiences in educational system. All they have is their friendship and, for Shaun, his first love Katy. From the moment Shaun steps into our world, he is bound to lose. Labelled as a violent bully, he destroys himself and takes Daz with him. Shaun has twelve years to reflect on an intense summer of love, sex and loyalty, but Daz's imminent death forces Shaun to go on a journey to confront his past. This is the story of a man full of intelligence and promise struggling to reclaim his life.Written by
Every once in a while a fabulous British independent film slips under the radar and is criminally missed by a ream of cinema goers. Summer is one such film. It's directed by Kenneth Glenaan, written by Hugh Ellis and stars Robert Carlyle, Rachael Blake and Steve Evets.
Shaun (Robert Carlyle) and Daz (Steve Evets) were the rouge kids on the block, best friends forever, they were constantly getting into scrapes. Thoughts of education were the furthest thing from their minds. We find Shaun now in adulthood, and now caring for Daz who is crippled and suffering from terminal cirrhosis. From here the film is told through Shaun's eyes with flashbacks to better, vibrant times, in particular the one important summer where Shaun tries to come to terms with life, loves (Blake as the girlfriend Katy) and where fate stepped in to change things. It's through these flashbacks that we learn exactly why Shaun is so devoted to his dying pal.
Structured in the way it is, basically set in three time periods of the protagonists life, Summer involves the viewers to the maximum with the characters. So much so that even with the hanging sense of doom in the air, the nagging question of why is this bond so strong? makes for a fascinating, and emotionally potent experience. The material and its central themes could quite easily been given the sledgehammer treatment by Glenaan, but he directs it in such a subtle way, the final result is all the more emotionally involving. There's no soft soaping either, the plot is tough and realistic, these are real people reacting to real life issues. Something that is helped enormously by the first rate performances of Carlyle (one of his best ever performances) and Evets.
Complementing the acting is Tony Slater-Ling's beautiful photography, particularly in the flashback scenes to the boys youth. The warm glow of the sun, the ripple of the water, the green and pleasant land, each serve as painful reminders to Shaun of his lost youth. Nostalgia is not thought of warmly, it is by definition here, a yearning that gnaws away at his soul. Hugh Ellis' screenplay also deserves plaudits, this may not be the easiest of viewings, since this is after all about wasted life and impending death. But there is always hope in the offering, and coupled with the odd flecks of gallows humour, Ellis has found the right balance for the story. It's downbeat of course, and you may feel like you have been through the mangler come the end. But this really is excellent film making that tells a worthy and most endearing story. With Carlyle magnetic and real and Glenaan serving notice that he's a British director fit to sit alongside Meadows, Loach and Arnold. It's hoped that more people can find and let Summer into their lives. 9/10
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