Top positive review
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DVD includes the classic short, A Sense of History
on 1 July 2009
...and I haven't seen the brilliant and hilarious piece on any other DVD. To have it on a DVD with such a good feature film is double brilliant. The 25 minute comedy monologue is written and performed by the exceptionally talented Jim Broadbent and directed by Leigh. It is one of the best pieces of writing you'll ever witness, and the portrayal by Broadbent is worthy of Peter Sellers. Why these things don't get shown more often is a mystery, but if you love British satire at its sharpest then you'll have to have this DVD.
Secrets and Lies is also a classic Leigh film, but definitely not a short, it surprised me how long this film was, British movies are usually very economical in length. Emotionally draining and uplifting at the same time, Leigh puts in some humorous touches to stop it degenerating into a soap opera and the acting all round is superb. Has some good camera angles like the entire (long) bbq scene shot from two static positions, one a lowish patio based angle, the other facing the house from high up. It gave the film a casual artiness that lifted it out of the ordinary from most British mainstream movies, and you can see why the French liked it so much. What kept it British was the depiction of working class Londoners with their small lives and petty differences and odd little habits, but there is no doubt at all that Mr. Leigh had been studying the unique and intimate art of French film making leading up to this great project. As for the content, this sort of thing is generally made more on the continent too, although Leigh and Loach between them, in their different styles, have made the British now into world class social realist movie makers.