Like its almost simultaneously made-for-TV mate `Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise'
these 2 low budget TV films seem to be Boyle's reaction to getting caught up in the machinery
of Hollywood -- both in style (shot on video, lots of handheld, a rawness) and in theme (both are,
in their own ways satires on the ills of capitalism and selling out).
But where `Vacuuming' was more of an over the top, super dark and somewhat angry comedy/satire,
`Strumpet is a bit more gentle and fairy-tale like. An angry young poet (a great Chris Eccelston),
who is followed by the stray neighborhood dogs everywhere (hence his name `Strayman') meets
an adorable waif of a young woman who can (sort of) play the guitar. They dance around in his
living room, her naked, singing a song made up from the words of his poems, which he has scribbled
all over the wall.
A goofily enterprising young neighbor makes a demo tape, and sets out to get them a career. And
lo and behold, he pulls it off, but at the expense of almost destroying who they are as the system
tries to mainstream them.
This is charming, well acted stuff, although hard to take seriously on any but the most fanciful level.
The idea that these two screaming bizarre poetry would be swept up as the `next big thing' is very
far-fetched, especially since the song really isn't that great (which may well be part of the point). On
some levels the second half, about the corrupting evils of the music business taking away their innocence
is overly familiar, even if done here with more originality than usual. But the opening half, as these two
oddballs just get to know and trust each other, is deeply charming.