DVD Review: Somers Town (2008)

28 Nov

SOMERS TOWN Independent British director Shane Meadows’ well-deserved reputation as a visionary film-maker is kept firmly on track with the gritty, unglamorous yet ultimately delightful (and relatively short at 68 minutes) SOMERS TOWN.

Set in the decidedly un-trendy inner city London district of the title Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) is a streetwise kid from the north of England escaping his grim surroundings for a possible shot at the big city dream.

Arriving at the huge St. Pancras railway station, he initially gets a bad taste of the capital after being mugged by three local lads before he ends up befriending Marek (Piotr Jagiello), the son of a Polish migrant working on the new Eurostar rail terminal.

The lonely young budding photographer takes pity on the rough Northern kid, and the two boys gradually bond after some petty criminal activity, and their shared infatuation with a French waitress Maria (Elisa Lasowski).

SOMERS TOWN is a small, yet perfectly formed, ode to friendship which here transcends culture, background and language (half the film is in Polish). The two young leads are both superb, and the minor characters all fit perfectly into the mix, especially Graham (Perry Benson), a dodgy Arthur Daly cheeky-chirpy Cockney type who runs a shonky business hiring out deckchairs and flogging off bootleg Arsenal Football Club shirts!

Director Meadows’ previous films include the acclaimed TWENTYFOURSEVEN with Bob Hoskins as the small town boxing coach, and the powerful THIS IS ENGLAND which also starred the charismatic Turgoose. Shot primarily in stark black and white SOMERS TOWN perfectly captures the dead end feel and atmosphere of the working class immigrant areas which are generally shunned by film-makers for the more colourful tourist friendly areas of England’s capital.

DVD extras: Theatrical trailer.

–> Interview with director Shane Meadows here

–> Article in Interview Magazine here

–> Somers Town is being distributed locally by Madman

MIKE CHILDS

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