The Selfish Giant 2013

Amazon Instant Video

(60) 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.

Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas
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

3.7 out of 5 stars
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39 of 40 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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21 of 24 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 31 Jan 2014
Format: DVD
This is described as a contemporary fable and yes it is but it is a whole lot more. Set in northern England we meet Arbor, he has to take medication to control his temper, his father has left and his older brother is a drug addict who feeds his habit through petty crime. At school Arbor has a best mate in `Swifty', he comes from an impoverished background where he has numerous siblings and a loser father who spends every penny and is even reduced to selling his own furniture, but his mum sees Swifty's potential.

After an incident at school Arbor gets `excluded' or expelled as we used to call it. Swifty, who he was standing up for, gets excluded but only for a few days. With nothing or `nowt' to do they decide to make some money by working for a dodgy scrap dealer with Romany leanings. This is the strangely named `Kitten'. He is happy dealing in stolen metal and cable and even shows the kids how to avoid the Smartwater that is used as a security device. Swifty has a natural affinity with horses and loves being with them so the rag and bone horse and cart are right up his street. Little Arbor on the other hand just wants to be the next Kitten. As things get ever more desperate on the home, front for both lads, they up the ante on the work almost unaware of the dangers.

This is simply an excellent film, director Clio Bernard - `The Arbor', has made a British realist drama with a heart and soul. The young lads who are the leads are both amazing. At times it feels unscripted or more accurately `natural' and that adds to the realism. The horses or ponies all look beautiful. There is a lot of profanity and some scenes that animal lovers may be upset by, due to how the horses are treated but that should in no way detract from what is a stunning piece of cinema.
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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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