Friday, 19 March 2010

The Scouting Book For Boys - Filmhouse - 19/3/10

When Thomas Turgoose first appeared on the big screen in Shane Meadows brilliant "This Is England" he looked like a genuine talent. He gave an honest, tender and funny performance in that film which belied his lack of any previous experience or training. He followed that up with a brief appearance in chav horror flick "Eden Lake" and the so short it was almost a short, feature film "Somers Town" (also directed by Meadows). With each film Turgoose has proven himself capable of tackling whatever is thrown in front of him; coming of age tale, violence, horror, interpersonal drama and now comes "The Scouting Book For Boys" which combines elements of all of those.

David (Turgoose) is a slightly awkward and uncomfortable teenager living on a caravan park with his club singer dad. Emily (Holly Grainger) is his best friend and complete opposite; fearless, brash, outrageous and confident. At the films start they are leaping from caravan to caravan via the roofs but when they approach a slightly larger gap between two of the mobile homes it is Emily who makes the leap with ease while David misses and ends up with a bloody mouth. This sets up the nature of their relationship and hints at where the power lies.

When Emily discovers that she must leave the park to go and live with her dad she conspires with David to fake her own disappearance. While she hides out in a cave on the beach all hell breaks loose above her as her mother struggles to cope with her absence, the police begin a huge manhunt and her secret lover, camp security guard Steve, is arrested on suspicion of having abucted her.

All of this puts David in an unusual position as he begins to exercise more control in his relationship with Emily. When he discovers the true nature of her relationship with Steve he is clearly upset but it is also the moment when he realises that Emilys future lies in his hands and at that point the film switches from a coming of age tale to a modern take on "The Collector". A shocking final third of the film gives Turgoose the chance to show that he is now an actor with real range and the ability to draw an audience into his world.

A film that contains real shocks and excellent performances from two young leads.

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