Made In Britain

Made In Britain


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Teenage angst has been psycho-babbled to the point where nasty kids are seen as nice kids with lousy childhoods. David Leland says bollocks to that. His script tosses moral debate into the skip and denies access to cause-and-effect apologists.

Trevor, the 16-year-old skinhead with a swastika tattoo on his forehead, hates black people, steals stuff because it's there, flings heavy objects through plate glass windows and calls authority figures (ie anyone with a jacket and a haircut) "WANKERS!!!" Alan Clarke uses cinema verite techniques, with an intrusively personal hand-held camera. He is dependent on his lead actor (Tim Roth) to deliver, which he does, in spades. Trevor's anger is against a system that orders him to behave while offering no reason, or purpose, other than "because we say so". It is pointed out (on a blackboard, no less) that a truant thief, with no prospects of work and a record of disruptive behavior, is signing on for a lifetime behind bars. He must take a grip. He must obey the rules. This offends Trevor's sense of fair play. He knows he's trapped. He hates it. He hates them. He (probably) hates himself.

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The essence of Clarke's approach is to stay close, trust his actors, shoot on location with minimal props and in institutionalised interiors that reflect the exhaustion of public services, using functional architecture's soul-dead ambiance and what is known in the cheap seats as "naked truth." Performances are naturalistic, often searing. Roth, in his TV debut, is dangerously fluent. Trevor may be a gift to an actor, but Roth avoids rebel glamour that so easily could have softened the impact. With uncompromising body language and fierce concentration, he creates a monster-in-the-making, already misunderstood, already targeted for police brutality, already crazy with rage.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The life of a violent skinhead.
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Director: Alan Clarke

Writer: David Leland

Starring: Tim Roth, Terry Richards, Bill Stewart, Eric Richard, Geoffrey Hutchings, Sean Chapman

Year: 1983

Runtime: 78 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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