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The Selfish Giant [Blu-ray]

4.0 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne, Siobhan Finneran
  • Directors: Clio Barnard
  • Format: Import, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Jan. 2014
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00G3BVTRS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,212 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13-year-old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighbourhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrapdealer - the Selfish Giant. They begin collecting scrap metal for him using a horse and cart. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor emulates Kitten - keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favours Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded, driving a wedge between the boys. Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, becoming more like Kitten. Tensions build, leading to a tragic event, which transforms them all.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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