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Somers Town - At times charming, but not Meadow's best work
on 8 May 2012
This is the first time I have sat through a Shane Meadow's film and been anything other than totally impressed. I am not sure if it was just because I wasn't in the right frame of mine when I sat down to it (I was very tired and unable to concentrate hard) or if it's just an unengaging film, but I really found unable to connect with the characters or care about the story.
It's a tale of Thommo (Thomas Turgoose), running away from life in Nottingham to see the big city. Once there he strikes a `friendship' with Marek, son of a Polish construction worker in Somers Town, near King's Cross/St Pancras. They have a series of unlikely adventures based around their shared passion for Maria, a French girl who is a waitressing at a local cafe, and their involvement with a local dodgy wheeler dealer geezer.
The film is made with Meadow's usual gritty realism and eye for the detail of everyday life, from the images of the young lad on the train making polite everyday conversation, to the council estates in which the characters live. This is juxtaposed with flashes of humour that sometimes tickle, but in the main do little more than raise a weak smile. The basic flaw, I felt, was the character of Thommo. After having spent an hour in his company I really couldn't stand him, or the way he bullies and abuses Marek. Marek was also irritating in that he never even tried to stand up for himself. Theirs is a very abusive relationship, and I felt both characters were people I have varying levels of distaste for. Especially the quite horrible Thommo. Because of this I just could not get involved in their story.
That's not to say I think the actors are bad, I think they did a great job of portraying their characters. And occasionally there was a moment that was either sweet or funny that I could relate to or was amused by. But overall it was a film that left me pretty cold and bored.
The ending is a bit at odds with the rest of the film. It seems a bit fairy tale, and almost a commercial for the Eurostar. I like the oversaturated film technique though, it took me right back the home films of the early eighties.
All in all, not a film I engaged with very much, so only 2 stars.