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Scarlett Alice Johnson,
Out on parole after 8 years inside, Bill Hayward returns home to find his now 11- and 15-year-old sons abandoned by their mother and fending for themselves. Unwilling to play Dad, an uncaring Bill is determined to move on. Although Dean the older boy has found a job and is doing his best to be a father to his younger brother Jimmy, the arrival of Bill brings them to the attention of social services. With the danger of being put into care looming, Dean forces his feckless dad to stay by threatening to grass him up for dealing. If there's one thing Bill doesn't want it's to go back to prison. He reluctantly agrees to stay for a week to help fool social services that the boys are being cared for. Having never really grown up himself, Bill quickly connects with Jimmy and, through this new bond, starts to realize what he's been missing. He has a family, a place in the world. He is a father. However, their happy family set-up is short lived when Jimmy gets into trouble with Bill's dangerous...Written by
Andy Serkis' character (Glen) says, "Oh! Riddles. I like these." Andy Serkis, who, of course, is well known for his portrayal as Gollum. And in, Hobbit; The Desolation of Smaug, Gollum mentions that he likes riddles. See more »
It's a choice. You might think you're only young, but you ain't. You're a man in my eyes and you've got to make a choice.
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Buried beneath the heavy concrete terrain of an east London skyline, itself swallowed up by the sprawling almost monstrous constructs of the imminent summer Olympiad, dwell the complex myriad of indigenous life which we peer into rookie director Dexter Fletcher's Shameless meets Eastenders Goldfish bowl , where the natives hide under the veneer of hooded tracksuits, baseball caps, West Ham United glyphs and shabby council properties. Fletcher's choice of aesthetic layers creates an effective personal space for his characters to bare all in what is quintessentially a snapshot of the contemporary urban British underclasses.
Fletcher embraces a plethora of themes which at times is problematic but also typical and honest traits of most directorial debuts, usually incumbent of the personal near self-biographical nature of maiden projects as well as the developing maturation of artistry and artistic discipline. There are shades of Fletcher's career history bursting onto screen throughout, there is the "guns and geezers" pastiche of the likes of Lock Stock and Layercake, pre and post-adolescent inflections no doubt drawn in some form from a past in children's TV. All of which manifest in a diversity and fluctuation of the tone and pace which encompasses comedic and dramatic flair with good measure.
The strengths of the piece are undoubtedly the earnest endeavours of the script, telling a most simplistic yet salient story of our times, whilst the ensemble cast produce a stream of coherent performances to both authenticate and entertain. When an ironically mild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles) returns from an eight year stretch, he looks to instantly remedy the ills created by his incarceration by searching for his two sons, what he finds at the end of this process is that with sustained hiatus comes restrained welcome making re-assimilation all the more trickier. The biggest slice of resentment comes from the star of the show Will Poulter who in playing the eldest son Dean manages a performance that mirrors the plight of his character, a 15 year old who is forced to be a man though he is yet a boy assuming patriarchal control of his younger brother Jimmy and himself. Poulter's projection is a frowning determination delivering tough talk and home truths to "Bill", calling and in the same sense mocking him as just that and refusing to use the expected but as yet unearned epithet.
The narrative plays out key inversions, the closer Bill gets to parental reconciliation, the more caustic his relationship with the local drug dealers of his own nefarious past become. Whilst the more Dean and his troublesome sibling let their guard down, invoking their estranged fathers care that is alien to them, the more vulnerable they become. In the end Fletcher strikes gold by exploring socially corrosive subjects of absent fathers, drugs and violence against women with no shortage of charm, wit and heart warming humanity.
By no means perfect (few are at this stage) but a great way to get off the mark as a director.
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