Two teenage boys (Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas) in northern England are having problems in school and become involved in the scrap metal business, stealing copper. Very loosely based on the Oscar Wilde story of the same title, this drama from a director with experience from documentaries offers a chance for religious interpretations… but its realism also reminds us of the very tangible problems facing the working class. Superb performances by the two talents in the leads, Chapman as a kid with hyperactivity disorder and Thomas as a boy with a heart of gold who loves animals. A film that’s dirty and heartbreaking, but also has an almost dreamlike beauty in the cinematography.
2013-Britain. 91 min. Color. Produced by Tracy O’Riordan. Written and directed by Clio Barnard. Cinematography: Mike Eley. Cast: Conner Chapman (Arbor), Shaun Thomas (Swifty), Sean Gilder (Kitten), Lorraine Ashbourne, Ian Burfield, Steve Evets.
Last word: “I don’t want the film to have explicit political content, but it is there. It’s essentially a film about love, deep friendship and loyalty between the two boys, but it is played out in an adult world where something has gone fundamentally wrong, and children are often at the cutting edge of that.” (Barnard, The Guardian)