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The Selfish Giant [Blu-ray]
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dark and gritty interpretation of the classic tale. I enjoyed it but felt it was a little predictable in its use of the Northern poverty device. Four out of five.... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs B-C
I don't really rate this film compared to her Arbor one - its ok thoughPublished 2 months ago by Miss B
A beautiful, evocative heartbreaking piece of cinema. The performances, tone and directing are impeccable. Stunning.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The film was ok but thought there might of been a bit of humour in it , there wasnt . Message came across about greed and poverty.Published 6 months ago by Annie O