Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Youff unemployment? Gie us a break, mate. There are only so many ways of depicting knackered enterprise and most of those are out-of-date. Kids on the estates don't know the meaning of "career" and "prospects." If it's not drugs, it's boredom. If it 's not boredom, it's violence. What else?

Shane Meadows enters the void of teenage ambition with some authority. He writes what he knows. Midlands working-class defeatism. Abusive fathers, overweight mothers, unfocused anger in ugly towns where empty chances offer false hope. Aggro is better than nuffin', right? A kind of energy. Like gobbin' on yer chips to stop the other blokes nickin' 'em.

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When Daniel Day-Lewis came out of prison in The Boxer, he set about building a gym so that deprived kids could learn discipline and have pride in themselves again. Darcy (Bob Hoskins) does the same in Twentyfourseven, except on a smaller budget. He sees the waste of human potential amongst the listless, scrappy kids of his neighbourhood and, with financial backing from a local entrepreneurial heavy, creates the core of a ramshackle boys' club.

The film is shot in black-and-white, with mostly untrained young actors. Hoskins bounces about in his element, being Bob - or rather, the Bob we know and love. There is a sense of deja vu, which is not Meadows' fault, sapping interest. None of the boys have enough individual attention to break free of the crowd, although all make contributions. What is missing is a dramatic hook, an emotional tug at the heart.

By going for realism, Meadows won't allow sexy star performances to upset the natural state of underachievement, boys playing boys' games in a sad, maladjusted world where humanity is given no respect. Even Darcy's cock sparrow chirpiness has a dodgy note. Why's he doing this? Where's he from? There's no Jessica Rabbit at the end of this burrow. Only anguish and an epitaph: He Tried To Make A Difference.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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TwentyFourSeven packshot
A man who grew up rough tries to help other kids get off the street by building a boxing gym.
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Director: Shane Meadows

Writer: Shane Meadows, Paul Fraser

Starring: Danny Nussbaum, Bob Hoskins, Bruce Jones, Annette Badland, Justin Brady, James Hooton, Darren O. Campbell, Krishan Beresford, Karl Collins, Anthony Clarke

Year: 1997

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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The Boxer