Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

In the new Britain of ASBOS and street stabbings, Soft makes headlines: Youth Gang Terrorises Suburbia: Where Are The Have A Go Heroes?

Writer/director Simon Ellis takes 14 minutes to make his point, which is as sharp as a Stanley knife and as hard as Wayne Rooney’s head. Injuries are expected. Don’t move without the telephone number of your lawyer.

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There is a loosely anarchic bunch of layabouts, bullying kids from the posh comprehensive, replacing boredom with random aggression, while filming themselves with a camcorder.

A man (Jonny Phillips) comes home from the office, stressed as per. He lives with his teenage son (Matthew O’Shea) and it’s obvious communication between them is not good. There is no milk in the fridge and so the man walks to the corner shop to buy half a pint of semi-skimmed. On the way back, he is set upon by the yobbos. He doesn’t fight back.

At home it transpires that the son has been beaten up by the same gang earlier in the day and his father tells him to stick up for himself next time and not be a victim. When the yobs come to the window and start throwing stones, it is the son who shouts, “Do something Dad!”

Can he? Will he?

“You scared?” the son pleads, incredulous.

This is clever writing, smart filmmaking and excellent acting. It grasps your nerve endings and gives them a twist.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2007
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Youth Gang Terrorises Suburbia. Winner of European Film Academy Short Film Prix UIP.

Director: Simon Ellis

Writer: Simon Ellis

Starring: Jonny Phillips, Matthew O'Shea, Michael Socha

Year: 2007

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: UK

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