The Selfish Giant 2013

Amazon Instant Video

(68) IMDb 7.4/10
Available in HD

A contemporary fable about two scrappy 13-year-old working-class friends in the UK who seek fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal, leading to tragic consequences.

Starring:
Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas
Runtime:
1 hour 30 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices

The Selfish Giant

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Clio Barnard
Starring Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas
Supporting actors Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne
Studio BFI Film Fund, Film4, Moonspun Films
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By dipesh parmar on 5 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
`The Selfish Giant' is British filmmaker Clio Barnard's new film, set on the same Bradford estate that featured in her debut `The Arbor'. Swifty (Shaun Thomas) and Arbor (Conner Chapman) are two thirteen year old boys, best friends who always seem to be upto something they shouldn't be in. But theirs is not merely a selfish path of youthful gratification, they know their parents struggles and want to improve their lives.

Victims of their circumstances, expelled from school and lacking a purpose in life, the boys drift aimlessly down a dangerous path. The boys hit upon a scrap metal scam, stealing copper cables left on a railway line by some just as untrustworthy individuals. They soon embark on trying to make a living from scrap metal, twinned with a fascination for horses. Swifty in particular has a gift with horses, and feels even more at home with them then he does with Arbor. He's the more sensitive and innocent of the two, Arbor's behavioural problems (ADHD) and big mouth tends to land them both in trouble.

The boys start to work for a local scrap-dealer named Kitten (Sean Gilder). Kitten shows no qualms about exploiting the boys' willingness to earn money, encouraging them to rent his horse and cart from him in order to collect scrap metal from sources that aren't legal. Kitten also runs an illegal horse-and-cart race, shown in one of the standout scenes, and he wastes no time in employing Swifty as a jockey. Barnard makes a subtle comment on child exploitation, but far more on the world commodities boom which has led to many people taking huge risks where copper has become the new gold. It also illustrates the waste that exists in society , plus how an entrepreneurial spirit can make money out of anything.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Parker on 27 Oct 2013
Format: DVD
Review for film only: Every so often a film comes along that is absolutely fantastic but falls into the category of 'films you'd never want to watch again'. Amour was the last film in this category and now Selfish Giant is the latest entry. The film focuses on two boys living around Bradford who are thrown out of school and make money for their families by finding/stealing copper and metal and selling it to an dodgy scrap metal merchant. The boys are good friends but this friendship shatters during the course of the film and eventually leads to tragedy. The two leads were apparently plucked from nowhere to star in this film and give absolutely amazing performances, but I would find it unlikely they'll appear in other roles different to this because of how good they are! The support is good also but by featuring Sean Gilder it can feel a bit like you are watching a film version of Shameless. There are one or two parts that seem a little unrealistic and I feel a bit uncomfortable watching it as it all feels too close to home and, the reason I won't watch it again, is because it is certainly not entertaining viewing. However I do certainly recommend one viewing of it, for the acting if nothing else, and it's a film that will stay with you for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Sep 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
While not audacious and brave in it's style as Barnard's smashing debut "The Arbor", it explores much of the same territory – poverty in northern England. But this time Barnard uses a more neo-realist bent that recalls the films of Ken Loach, among others. And after two viewings, while I missed the wild rule-breaking she did in her first film, I felt she had made a film of gritty honest and emotional force.

The story centers on two young teens (very well played by non-pros). Diminutive Arbor is hyperactive, angry, and so on the edge he can be frightening and simultaneously heartbreaking -- Arbor needs meds just to allow him to be calm enough to function. And there's Swifty, his best friend who is introvert to Arbor's extreme extrovert. Swifty is willing to go along with Arbor's schemes to a point, but he also wants to honor his mother's wish that he get an education, and try to move up and out of poverty.

The two begin collecting (and sometimes stealing) scrap metal to sell to a tough local junk metal dealer, Kitten. This is a man who is capable of being almost a father figure one moment, and stomping you into the ground the next. A sort of modern Fagan, using the boys to do his bidding (although, to be fair, the boys come to him).

A dark, moody and ultimately deeply disturbing film, that refuses to let us or society off lightly when it comes to kids growing up in the cycle of poverty.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sindri on 8 Feb 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
English screenwriter and director Clio Barnard`s feature film debut which she wrote, is inspired by real events in the life of a real person and a novel from 1888 by Irish 19th and 20th century author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde. It premiered in the 45th Directors` Fortnight section at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival in 2013, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on locations in England and is a UK production which was produced by producer Tracy O`Riordan. It tells the story about a secondary school student named Arbor who lives in a terraced house with his mother named Michelle Fenton and his brother named Martin. One evening when Arbor and his best friend named Swifty who lives with his parents and six siblings are out riding on a horse, they notice two men who are cutting cables on a railway, scares them off and takes the cables.

Distinctly and eminently directed by English filmmaker Clio Barnard, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main characters` viewpoints, draws an important and ingrained portrayal of two adolescent boys whom in the hopes of making some money to help out their families begins collecting scrap and delivering it to a scrap dealer.
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