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Somers Town

September 9, 2010

Somers Town (2008)
Director: Shane Meadows
Actors: Thomas Turgoose, Piotr Jagiello, Ireneusz Czop

Synopsis: The adventures of two young boys – one homeless (Thomas Turgoose), one a Polish immigrant (Piotr Jagiello) – in London.

Review: Despite being on a much more relaxed and affable canvas than his last two portentous features, Shane Meadows’ amiable little picture Somers Town still convinces me of his status as an unconvincing and hackneyed filmmaker. The black and white photography coupled with the “offbeat” acoustic guitar soundtrack feel like clichéd and under-motivated cinematic tropes. Stylistically, Meadows is on familiar ground here, and his strength in drawing convincing and naturalistic performances from his actors remains undimmed. Thomas Turgoose builds on his great work in This is England, and his unforced charisma and comic sensibility is one of the film’s major plusses. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions, the nods to the changing cosmopolitan face of London through the Polish family and the French waitress are weak, and these characters never seem anything other than the dramatic cyphers they are. Also, not that I advocate narrative tyranny and a necessity for ‘conflict and resolution’ paradigms, but there does seem a gaping dramatic chasm in the film’s final third. The discord in the Polish household, and the reality of Turgoose’s persistent homelessness is suddenly dropped, in favour of a rather received and upbeat coda, shot in colour and Super-8, depicting the two young boys’ journey on the Eurostar to reunite with their idyllic French waitress. (August 2008)

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