Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Made in Britain (Alan Clarke)

Tim Roth, in his first film role, plays a sixteen-year-old skinhead who is placed in an evaluation center after throwing a brick through a Pakistani shopkeeper's window. He rejects any opportunity for a detour from his inevitable march toward prison and is a seething, twitching nerve ending of a human being, full of articulate speech and inarticulate rage, simultaneously fiercely intelligent and a moron. Simply unable to sit through school or a dead-end job, he can't fake enthusiasm for an average, mundane life or any of the bullshit one has to plow through to gain even a fraction of independence, but he is unable to allow himself a way out of the dead-end nihilism and affected racist persona he adopts to keep himself from connecting with any other human being. Despite his skinhead garb and the swastika tattooed on his forehead, he is never seen with any other skinheads, and he strikes up an odd, bullying friendship with his black roommate in the evaluation center. The film's title seems overtly political to me, but the film itself never makes a judgment about Roth's character or even explains why he ended up the way he did. The audience is trusted to make its own decisions, though the film is hardly detached. Instead, through innovative early use of the Steadicam, we're shoved into the film hard and remain there, only a few steps behind Roth. A great movie.

2 comments:

kristykay said...

This was a great movie -- I somehow ended up both respecting and becoming fed up with Tim Roth's character. It also showed a different side of the British juvy system from Scum, but without making the social workers look too self-sacrificing or idealistic (one of them is kind of a bumbling joke, but he ends up being a lot more complex than he first appears). Definitely worth your time.

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