Tuesday, 12 January 2010

It's Called Love, Son.

Shane Meadows introduced us to Thomas Turgoose in This Is England in 2006, and brought him back for his follow-up Somers Town in 2008. A short feature (IMDb.com calls it 71 minutes, but I'm sure the DVD said 63), it follows young Tomo (Turgoose), who has come to London from the Midlands with no explanation (outside the fact that he doesn't have anything to go back to at home), and his relationship with Polish immigrant Marek (Piotr Jagiello.) 

Tomo has spent his first night in London on the streets after being beaten up and robbed by three older English boys, and is in a cafe when he happens across Marek, who is looking through photos he has taken. They strike up a friendship, spending the day together, and as the day draws to a close Tomo convinces Marek to let him stay with his and his father - though his father is not to know. Tomo hides under the bed, being smuggled food by Marek, and they continue to spend time together, stealing a bag of (mostly) women's clothes, doing some work for a pittance for Marek's neighbour, and fantasising about each of them getting together with French waitress Maria (Elisa Lasowski.) After trying to surprise her with a picnic they discover, to their dismay and collective heartbreak, that she has left, and the two enjoy the wine they have purchased and then much of Marek's father's vodka before Tomo is kicked out. 

It is a very simple story, one of friendship, and one driven by the unlikely charisma of Turgoose. In only a couple of years from his This Is England debut, he has grown leaps and bounds as a performer and carries this story (which, in the hands of lesser performers and filmmakers, could be thought of as weak) almost entirely on his own. Jagiello is suitably stumbling for someone performing in broken English, which I'm assuming is not merely performance, but his role is also much less demanding, and indeed he rarely imbues it with anything more than childlike inquisitiveness and stoicism. 

Apparently the film started as a short, funded by Eurostar, the European rail service known mostly in the UK as a fast link between London and Paris, designed to show up the new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras, where Marek's father works and where their apartment looks over. It grew into the short feature, and I'm glad it did. The story, really, could have been squished into a short, but by stretching it out it allows for the characters to grow, and for you to become involved with them. Similarly, I think another thirty minutes to make it more of a standard feature would have impeded its effectiveness. As it stands, it's a nice way to spend an hour. There are no fireworks, but there aren't really any disappointments, either. 3.5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment