The Selfish Giant

"Excellent"

The Selfish Giant Review


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.

The actors make this utterly riveting with staggeringly honest performances. Chapman gives Arbor a hyperactive charm as he comes up with yet another plan without thinking through the consequences. By contrast, Thomas' Swifty is soulful and thoughtful enough to keep pulling Arbor back to earth. Their relationship makes the film funny, sometimes thrilling and ultimately wrenchingly emotional. This may be a grim parable about human desperation, but it's packed with an unforgettable blast of youthful hope.



The Selfish Giant

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th October 2013

Box Office USA: $12.2k

Distributed by: Sundance Selects

Production compaines: Moonspun Films, British Film Institute (BFI), Film4

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 71 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Clio Barnard

Producer: Tracy O'Riordan

Starring: as Arbor, Shaun Thomas as Swifty, Sean Gilder as Kitten, as Mary, Ian Burfield as Mick Brazil, as Price Drop Swift, as Mrs. Swift, Ralph Ineson as Johnny Jones, Rebecca Manley as Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton, Rhys McCoy as Daniel, as Martin Fenton

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.