‘Somers Town’ (2008) 400 Word DVD Review
May 23, 2009 § Leave a comment
Score: 3 out of 5
Somers Town, directed by Shane Meadows, is a black-and-white short story, focusing on two young teenagers, Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) and Marek (Ireneusz Czop). Tomo, a brash runaway from Nottingham, forms an unlikely friendship with the quiet Marek, a recent Polish immigrant. They both end up falling in love with the same woman – a tall, beautiful French waitress by the name of Maria – who works at the local café and, together, they compete for her affections.
Thomas Turgoose, straight off the back of This Is England fame, achieves another strong, credible performance, along with Ireneusz Czop and Piotr Jagiello, starring alongside each other as father and son, respectively, in the film.
With its 75 minutes of running time, Somers Town is, understandably, quite light on story. While the script, written by Paul Fraser, is believable and occasionally funny, there isn’t a great deal going on in the film.
Part of the problem lies in an irony: that because Meadow’s previous work, This Is England, was so good, Somers Town can almost never hope to achieve the same amount of success. It seems that Meadows, seemingly anticipating this, has produced a film that is both short and sweet – the unfortunate side effect of this being that it inevitably lacks real substance.
Another aspect which I have tried to put out of my head, but simply can’t ignore, is the fact that the film was financed by Eurostar. I try to watch films and judge them on their own merits, but there are instances in Somers Town, especially towards the end, in which it did come across to me as something of an advertisement. There is a particular instance in which the screen turns from black-and-white to full colour, just as soon as the pair leave off for Paris via a Eurostar train, and the timing of this moment not only feels a little misjudged but also quite flagrant.
Whether this is conspicuous to those without the foreknowledge of Eurostar funding the film, I don’t know, and I would be interested to find out. However, Somers Town, while slight and not particularly memorable, is a pleasant film with well-drawn characters and naturalistic, humorous dialogue. It’s an alright film, but nothing to write home about.