The Brixtonian

The Brixtonian


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Class comedy is a rare treat, especially when it works.

Toby (James Rawlings) is a 22-year-old ex-public schoolboy, who lives in Brixton, talks with a Jamaican accent, wears dreads and "really does believe he's a black man". He calls himself an artist, which means he spray paints primary colours onto bits of canvas, shouting incomprehensively.

The film is shot as if it was a documentary. A camera follows Toby wherever he goes. At one point, he bashes into it by mistake, when fooling about in the street.

In juxtaposition, his parents are interviewed at their country pile. Dad's a merchant banker in the City and mum's terribly polite. They are asked their opinion of their youngest son and are careful not to criticise or mention the word Brixton ("It's Clapham, really"), or say anything that might suggest that they think Toby's a deluded, overprivileged, idiotic embarrassment to them.

The humour is satirical, without exaggeration, cleverly written by Rawlings and beautifully played by one and jolly well all.

The final scene, as Toby makes his once-every-six-months visit, speaking posh and dressed for the village fete, is perfectly judged. He is greeted on the gravel by his father with the immortal words, "Rugger's on this afternoon," to which Toby replies, "Excellent!"

So much safer than conversation.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2003
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Short about a former public schoolboy who thinks he's better dread than dead.

Director: Misha Manson-Smith, Josh Appignanesi

Writer: James Rawlings

Starring: James Rawlings, Virginia Lester, Brendan Gregory

Year: 2002

Runtime: 9 minutes

Country: UK


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