Monday, 18 July 2011

[484] Treacle Jr (2010) Review

One of the upsides of living near Elephant & Castle is that so many films are shot right nearby. Name a London-set inner city drama, and it's likely to have been filmed in the now-empty Heygate Estate (I live in the shadow of the neighbouring Aylesbury Estate).

Recognising a filming location in a personal, not iconic, way is something that never gets old, and it didn't take me long to realise that Treacle Jr. was shot in a similar South London locale. There are the obvious scenes, such as one where the protagonist squats in the entryway of Spurgeon's Tabernacle, but the characters also wander around parks and estates in Southwark, Dulwich and, apparently, Wandsworth.

Take that, Hackney.

Treacle Jr, the new film from writer-director Jamie Thraves (The Low Down), opens wordlessly, and ends with little to say. Made on the cheap, but not without great personal investment, the film uses its budgetary weaknesses to its advantage, shooting straight and immediate, giving its gently unfolding premise considerable nuance, as Tom (Tom Fisher), decides to leave his family home in Birmingham to sleep rough in the capital. He boards a train to London, chops up his credit cards, and loiters in public parks, before meeting Aidan (Aidan Gillen), an Irish oddjobber who takes a shine to him, and, to our protagonist's all-too-polite discomfort, just won't leave him alone.

Shot on location, the film follows the unlikely duo as they wander around South London. Gillen drives these scenes, skipping through cemeteries and excitedly declaring custard creams ‘the King of Biscuits'. His energetic, motormouth schtick is endlessly engaging, especially in seemingly improvised moments with unknowing members of the public, who had the misfortune to walk their dog near, or open their front door to, this little bundle of manchildish madness.

Read the full article here.

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