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SOMERS TOWN

Director: SHANE MEADOWS

U.K. • 2008 • BLACK AND WHITE • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 75 MIN


AFTER THE FIREWORKS OF ‘THIS IS ENGLAND’, SHANE MEADOWS SHOWS HIS VERSATILITY AND DEMONSTRATES A CHARMINGLY LIGHT TOUCH WITH THIS BITTERSWEET COMING-OF-AGE STORY.
It’s new territory for Meadows in other ways too, since the story takes him away from his usual Midlands stamping ground to London, where Somers Town is a scruffy working class community situated in the shadow of the shiny new Eurostar railway terminal. The influx of Polish builders employed on the project explains how one of the central characters here is teenage immigrant Marek (Piotr Jagiello), left to his own devices each day when his dad’s slogging away on site, who’s besotted with a local cafe girl but too shy to make much of an impression. A chance encounter brings the rather bolder Tommo (‘This Is England’ star Thomas Turgoose) into his life, a 16-year-old runaway who’s arrived on the train, been mugged of his few possessions and desperately needs somewhere to crash.
Shot in crisp black-and-white which somehow brings the poetry out of these grotty surroundings while reminding you they’re just that, this is a story of unlikely friendship, where two very different new pals try to work out how to put a roof over Tommo’s head without Marek’s gruff father finding out. Eschewing the violent extremes of Meadows’ recent work, it’s gently affectionate in tone, strung along a series of everyday vignettes (often involving local ‘character’ Perry Benson in a scene-stealing turn), but done with such ease and affection—not to mention utterly unforced acting from the two lads—that we’re totally drawn in. Sussed yet yearningly romantic, it’s a wee gem.—Trevor Johnston.

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