Top critical review
on 16 March 2015
Clearly a film of its time, so has to be seen in a 1980s context, but aside from that it's all rather clunky. Even allowing for comic effect the characters are very crudely drawn (village tearaways in cap sleeve T-shirts and permanent snarls, and there's even a crusty upper class colonel-type with a monocle). The racial interplay could have been delivered with much more subtlety, although credit is due for the way in which the vulnerabilities of people on both sides of the divide are portrayed. There are lots of characters getting hopelessly drunk but then appearing to make a more or less full recovery in a short space of time, and some of the main protagonists have vicious rows which they manage to put behind them in the blink of an eyelid - very unconvincing. The passage of time is also rather confusing, particularly once the Brixton team arrives in the village. And there's one central moment involving three village youths and a visiting female that seems strangely out of dramatic and comedic kilter with the rest of the film. Maybe that's intentional, but it didn't really work and left me wondering what point it was trying to make.
While the film is gently amusing in places, it's hardly a rib-tickler, so I would have preferred a bit more pathos and a few less 'laughs'. Perhaps that would have delivered a better treatment of what is essentially quite an interesting idea. On the plus side, Norman Beaton is good in the main role and a certain wistfulness falls across the whole production as many of the characters try, but fail, to find an accommodation with each other.