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Somers Town
UKScreen Rating:

Somers Town – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Disenfranchised teenager Tomo (Turgoose) runs away from home in the East Midlands to start a new life in London.
Within hours of getting off the train in Kings Cross, he’s jumped by a gang who get away with everything he owns – even the beer he managed to acquire.
With nothing to his name, he finds himself in a local café, where a teenaged Polish immigrant Marek (Jagiello) is flicking through a pile of photos he’s taken of the gorgeous French waitress (Lasowski).
Tomo strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Polish boy with whom he shares little – other than a taste for gorgeous French waitresses and a lack of anything to do other than flirt with her and wheel her around the block in a shopping trolley – you know the kind of thing.
Tomo ends up sleeping on Marek’s floor, when his builder father is out and they scrabble together pennies to live on by selling fake football shirts for the local wide-boy, Graham (Benson).

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

If that doesn’t sound like much of a story, well, it isn’t. What’s worse is that just when it finally kicks into something approximating to a story, after about seventy minutes, the film literally just stops.
OK, so it’s low budget, but so low budget they just stopped because the money ran out before the film was finished? Hardly.
Funded by Eurostar, who’d originally asked Meadows for a promotional video, it appears that he suggested spending the cash on a low-budget feature rather than a big-budget short.
On some levels, it’s a tremendous success – the boundless irreverence and cheekiness of Turgoose’s lead, builds on his previous outing in Meadows’ This is England, is a joy to behold, and Benson’s dodgy dealer is the kind of kindly crook you’d only really see in the movies – think of a cross between Fagin and Wayne Slob and you won’t be far off.
The pair of them – along with adequate supporting performances – reward Meadows with one of the most charming and likeable pieces of cinema on a shoestring of recent years.
But as a piece of cinema, it doesn’t really cut it. You don’t get deeply into the characters – the characters don’t actually do enough – no story really develops until it’s too late and when it does, the film just stops – characters act illogically (much humour comes from the way Marek hides Tomo in his bedroom, but there’s not actually any reason why he shouldn’t have asked his father if his mate could stay over for a couple of days – and what transpires when Tomo gets his clothes stolen, while funny, simply wouldn’t happen).
As the film closes with a shot of the boys staring longingly at a monochrome Eurostar terminus, it’s clear that it’s little more than a love letter to one of London’s least attractive housing estates in one of London’s least loved suburbs.
Not so much style over substance – more harmless charm over substance.

opens nationwide 22nd August 2008

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