Arbor and Swifty are two young boys struggling to find purpose and identity in their impoverished Yorkshire town. They are the best of friends, but while they bond over their own home and school problems, it turns out that they don't necessarily bring out the best in each other. When Arbor is expelled from school for starting a fight while trying to defend Swifty against bullies, he finds himself with nothing to do and no purpose. He takes Swifty out of school in a bid to start making money and they meet an unprincipled scrapdealer named Kitten, who puts them to work uncovering scrap metal and cables to sell on for profit. However, friendships are tested when Arbor finds himself getting increasingly more left out of the business, while his parents are at odds with what to do about their son's latest antics.
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Inventive British filmmaker Barnard takes on Oscar Wilde's children's story with the same artistic creativity that made her previous film, the edgy drama-doc The Arbor, such a triumph. But this isn't a movie for kids; it's about them. And it's such a provocative combination of gritty reality and youthful energy that it's sometimes difficult to watch. Especially as the shattering finale approaches.
Set on the grubby edges of Bradford, the story centres on fast-talking young teen Arbor (Chapman), who always seems to be in trouble. When he drags his nice-guy pal Swifty (Thomas) into another crazy scam, they get thrown out of school. But Arbor sees this as an opportunity to use their free time to collect metal to sell to scrapyard owner Kitten (Gilder). For Arbor, his main goal is to get out of his messy house, where he lives with his mum (Manley) and bullying big brother (Tittensor). Swifty's home-life with his shouty parents (Evets and Finneran) isn't much better, and he loves spending time working with with Kitten's prized horse. On the other hand, Arbor keeps coming up with risky ideas to earn more cash.
Barnard is an expert at finding beauty in the ugliest people and places, and this film sometimes feels like it's wallowing in working-class shabbiness. But she gives her uneducated characters a sense of intelligence, artistry and integrity that makes us want to spend time with them even though no one speaks in a reasonable tone of voice. Anger boils over quickly, with screaming rants and violent outbursts, so it feels like life for these people is very difficult, not just economically but also emotionally.
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There's a terrific blast of nostalgia in this finely crafted film, which will probably make it a hit for Stone Roses fans, but it's so jaggedly edited that the plot is almost impenetrable. Without a real sense of who the characters are, it's very difficult to get involved in their adventure.
It's 1990, and a group of teens are overexcited about the upcoming Stone Roses concert on Spike Island in Widnes. Gary (Tittensor), known as "Tits", is the ostensible leader of the garage band Shadowcaster, along with his best pal Dodge (Mirallegro) and their friends Zippy, Gaz and Penfold (Murphy, Long and Heald). The problem is that they don't have tickets for the event, and Gary plans to meet there with his long-time crush Sally (Clarke). Meanwhile, he's distracted by the fact that his father (Evets) is ill and his mother is annoyed that he's spending all his time with his friends instead of being with her at the hospital.
Along with the various strands of Gary's story, there are also sideplots for several other characters, which diffuses the film away from the central narrative about five guys trying to get into a landmark concert staged by their idols. The film leaps around between all of these storylines without properly settling down, which means none of the relationships ever come to life. For example, we can see that Gary and Dodge have years of camaraderie, although we don't really understand why they're still friends now.
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Gary (aka Tits) and his friends Dodge, Zippy, Little Gaz and Penfold are an ambitious amateur indie band from Manchester with an unshakeable adoration for The Stone Roses. As a once in a lifetime major gig for the legendary group approaches, the friends are determined to watch musical history unfold as they set out to gatecrash the show on Spike Island. Their plan? Break into the venue without tickets and hand over their precious demo tape to the lead singer with the hope that it will shape their musical futures. However, things aren't as easy as they sound with school and girls as constant distractions, and no initial way of getting to the Island. Not to mention the swarming security and high fences they'll have to pass to get in. Their determined mission will no doubt test their friendship and the way they view the future as they are about to face hard facts about life and dreams.
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Ben Kingsley, Elliott Tittensor and London Fashion Week - Sir Ben Kingsley and Daniela Lavender London, England - London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 - Burberry Prorsum - Arrivals Monday 19th September 2011
Kaya Scodelario, Elliott Tittensor and London Fashion Week - Kaya Scodelario and Elliott Tittensor London, England - London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 - Burberry Prorsum - Arrivals Monday 19th September 2011
Date of birth
3rd November, 1989