IN 1935, American children’s author Munro Leaf took less than an hour to write the 790-word story of Ferdinand, “the bull with the delicate ego” to quote Larry Morey’s lyric for a song first heard […]
The feature film debut of director Adam Smith (whose career includes several episodes of “Dr Who”), also that of writer Alastair Siddons, is a film about family.
But don’t make the mistake of concluding that it is a film for the whole family. Its MA classification is fair dinkum. Behaviour, plot and language are tough, antisocial, obscene and often uncomfortable.
Meet the Cutler family, dwelling in a collection of decrepit caravans parked on flat country somewhere in England. Patriarch Colby, violent, domineering, tough, unblemished by any notion of sympathy for anybody outside his family, rules with an iron fist, justifying his defiance of law and societal convention as a yearning for nothing more – or less – than absolute freedom. Brendan Gleeson’s portrayal of him is an absolute cracker. Impossible to love or admire, but you know what you’re getting from him and it’s unpalatable more often than not!
Eldest son Chad (Michael Fassbender) is cast in a similar mould but with essential differences. At the behest of wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal), a tough lady with compassionate overtones, Chad’s determined that nearly-seven-year-old Tyson (Georgie Smith) and his five-year-old sister should get the education he never had. Chad’s brother, simpleton Kenny (Killian Scott) is too often the butt of Colby’s scorn.
There’s the family, then, careering around the countryside with no regard for terrain, getting whatever they need by stealing it, disdainfully smashing property and giving PC Lovage (Rory Kinnear) a very hard time and, in a perverse way, much of the film’s comedy. It’s behaviour that we should castigate on every moral ground, yet it’s also a lotta fun to watch. My star rating breaks fresh ground – a tad more than 3½, not quite enough for 4.
At Palace Electric