A VHS copy of Transformers The Movie (1986) can be seen on top of the television. Mohammed later on quotes Optimus Prime's famous line, "one shall stand, one shall fall" from the same film in the bank scene. See more »
Mo where's the phone?
You said I can hold it. You promised.
You can't use it in here. Its like the cinema.
I'm gonna die and it's all this guys fault.
Shhh! You can't talk in here. It's like the cinema.
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Walking on Sunshine
(25th Anniversary Recording)
Performed by Katrina & The Waves (as Katrina and the Waves)
Written by Kimberley Rew (as Rew)
Published by Touch Tones Music Ltd.
Courtesy of Kyobside See more »
The blend of heart, comedy, drama and charm is difficult to pull off, and while this doesn't fail, it doesn't wholly succeed either
Adam is only 12 years old but finds himself frequently responsible for this 31 year old brother Mohammed, who has learning difficulties and is obsessed with superheroes. With their father long gone and only their mother left to support them, Adam is isolated from friends due to the requirements from his family situation. When a group of older boys reach out to him, it seems that Mohammed may have his uses after all.
There are a couple of things trying to go on here at the same time. First we have a sort of period comedic air, with lots of references and 1980's material littered around, as well as a sense that the whole thing represents a more innocent time in some ways. Within this we have a story of a young boy struggling with the demands of his family situation, as well as resentments that he both feels and knows he shouldn't really feel. This family drama aspect leads to a more exaggerated situation where he comes to understand how his brother feels about him. The film has a difficult task to try to balance these two aspects and be able to deliver a touching personal story but at the same time have that comedic touch which allows the viewer to go with it when the film plays out its more exaggerated sequence. It is a difficult balancing act to pull off and unfortunately it doesn't really succeed at either.
This is not the same as saying it fails though, because it doesn't fall over on itself; the cheerful intent and heart of the material and the film generally is apparent, and it does have just about enough going on to be appealing, however there is a lot of scope for polish here. The first half of the film is probably too serious and too focused on setting the frame – the boys, the challenge with Mohammed, the opportunity for the second half of the film, the mugshots on the television etc, all of these things seem too much in the service of the narrative. The reason this was a problem for me was that it reduced things down to the moments rather than letting it flow – and once it starts to feel like a checklist of things the viewer needs to get, then it feels less organic. The weakness in the first half meant it didn't charm me and didn't draw me in, so when the second half of the film comes, I didn't have any vested interest to go with the flow and appreciate the moment and the characters; and on top of that the second half of the film feels just as functional as the first.
It is a real shame because there is a lot of talent here. Novak is disarming with his innocence, while Revri is convincingly natural in many ways (although not all) and is very good considering he had never acted before. Thompson is reliable and a good presence in the film even if her material is limited. The production generally is also of a high standard – good locations, good picture/sound, and generally well put together (with a surprising amount of good music too). However the weakness is in the material and in the failure to wholly blend the heart into the comedic into the dramatic and to do so with charm. One can see what the film is aiming for, but it doesn't really pull it off.
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