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Borstal (2017)

Set in 1971, Kris is sentenced to two years in a rural Borstal.


Steven M. Smith


Kris Gray (novel), Kris Gray (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Winters ... Kris
Patrick Kilpatrick ... Governor Heywood
Tony Fadil ... Paddy Gibbons
Sonny Denham Sonny Denham ... Alan Welch
Jon-Paul Gates ... Len Forshaw
Tiffany-Ellen Robinson Tiffany-Ellen Robinson ... Sally Forshaw
Rorie Stockton ... JJ
Luke Anthony Jr. Luke Anthony Jr. ... Phil McGuinness
Kevin Horsham Kevin Horsham ... Jim Hunt
Maria Austin ... Moira
Rafe Bird Rafe Bird ... Andre
Frankie Clarence Frankie Clarence ... Winnie Wilson
Billy James Machin Billy James Machin ... Jock Taylor
Darren James King ... Kingy
Jema Gilsenan Jema Gilsenan ... Jema


Set in 1971, Kris is sentenced to two years in a rural Borstal.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

6 March 2017 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Greenway Entertainment See more »
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Did You Know?


Michael Gambon was approached to play the part of the Governor whilst filming Fearless on the same set. See more »


The prison officer Jim Hunt has long hair, there has been and never would be an officer with long hair. See more »

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User Reviews

Not Really What It Purports To Be
28 April 2017 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

I like to think of myself as a good guy. This is probably defined as "Someone who feels guilty about the things they didn't do rather than the things they did do". Once in a while I do feel very guilty about something I did . Normally it involves one of my reviews hurting the feelings of someone who worked on a film. I once wrote a comment on a film called HOOLIGANS AT WAR NORTH VS SOUTH , and was scathing one of the production team wrote me a very polite private message saying the production was crippled by a very limited shooting schedule and budget. I felt guilty but also pleased to find out later many of the production team are going onto better things. The co-director of HOOLIGANS AT WAR Steven M Smith has just released a new movie called BORSTAL and I felt the need to watch it to see how much he has improved

To be fair to Steven and co it's the marketing that murdered much of the potential of this movie . The DVD cover gives the impression it's going to be a violent prison drama where Darwinian law dictates it's survival of the fittest. The blurb reinforces this too and you're instantly reminded of Alan Clarke's SCUM. As a couple of other comments have mentioned this is misleading and it's impossible not to notice the degree of the misleading advertising

What BORSTAL tries to be is a film about redemption with some feelgood quality to it. Based on a book called TWO'S UP by Kris Gray it involves a newly arrived middle class teenage prisoner called Kris arriving in a borstal. Right away you're thinking he's going to literally fight for his life to stay alive but this isn't how things develop. Borstal was long before my time and I take it TWO'S UP is an auto-biography and if nothing at least the film portrays the inmates as fairly average joes you'd see in the pub. A bit loud , a bit boisterous and a bit dim , but nothing really irremediably evil. In effect just some lads who need a good kick up the backside and in other words a fairly accurate picture of juvenile delinquents

Directorial wise there's something of a problem to all this. Steven M Smith gives the film the look and feel of one of this lightweight dramas you see broadcast on Sunday evenings on ITV and this jars with the use of the F and C words . The casting doesn't help in that the cast all come across as nice guys you'd happily share a drink with . not something you could say about SCUM. The director also bludgeons the audience over the head as to the tone of the scene with over emphatic music that dictates what sort of tone the scene involves . This becomes very annoying very quickly

When all is said and done however it's the marketing of BORSTAL that lets everything down. There's little in the way of viscous , nihilistic violence that made SCUM so unforgettable and cynics might say it's such a nice place populated by such nice guys they built walls to keep everyone else out

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