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The Selfish Giant 2013

Amazon Video

(105) IMDb 7.3/10
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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 to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Clio Barnard
Starring Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas
Supporting actors Ralph Ineson, Ian Burfield, Everal Walsh, Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne, Elliott Tittensor, Rebecca Manley, John Wall, Mohammed Ali, Jamie Michie, Steve Evets, Siobhan Finneran, Bailey Clapham, Jake Gibson, Sofina-Rose Hussain, Peter-Lee Lowther, Aron Ryan, Macy Shackleton
Studio Curzon Artificial Eye
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 Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 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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45 of 49 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Williams on 5 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD
Two young lads, Arbor (Connor Chapman) and Swifty (Shaun Thomas) excluded from school, both with a rough and tough upbringings, 'befriend' Kitten a local scrap dealer, they soon both begin collecting scrap, and a decision later has devastating consequences for all.

A working class Brit drama set in a bleak Northern town, this is the type of movie Ken Loach excels at, and Director Clio Barnard can hold her head high to the master himself. Great performances from the two young leads, especially 13 year old Connor, but with a strong cast through out, the movie is gritty, grimy but also very poignant, especially the heart breaking conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 31 Jan. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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