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United Kingdom 2008
Directed by
Shane Meadows
68 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Somers Town

Shane Meadows' follow-up to his hard-hitting feature, This Is England (2006) takes a converse approach with this story of a pair of young lads trying to find their feet in the alien world of London.

Thomas Turgoose, who was so good in This Is England now plays 16-year-old Tomo, who’s come from Nottingham to see the bright lights of London. He lobs in Somers Town, a rough area between Euston Station and St Pancras and by the end of his first night he’s been robbed and beaten. He eventually falls in with 15-year-old Polish teenager Marek (Piotr Jagiello) who lives with his Dad, a hard-working, hard-drinking Polack who has left his wife and taken Marek with him, leaving the kid lonely. Marek is smitten with a French girl (Elisa Lasowski) who works at the local café and that’s where he and Tomo meet. The pair are polar opposites but team up in their isolation and come to share a mutual crush on the girl.

Shot largely in black and white, with a colour sequence at the end, Meadows’ Truffaut-like film, which was scripted by his regular collaborator Paul Fraser, follows the boy’s adventures as the quiet Marek gets drawn into Tomo’s more mischievous modus operandi. Turgoose’s Tomo is a real character, a cocky kid with a flair for getting himself in trouble . Adding more humour (and recalling Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh‘s Life Is Sweet, 1991) is Perry Benson as a Cockney barrow-boy who befriends the lads, largely so that he can exploit them.

Somers Town is a relatively short film but what there is of it is a delight.




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