Goodbye Charlie Bright
What are they up to now? The boys plot their next scam (Rodney, Manookian, Nicholls).
SHADOWS MUST SEE MUST-SEE
dir-scr Nick Love
with Paul Nicholls, Roland Manookian, Danny Dyer, Alexis Rodney, Dani Behr, Phil Daniels, Jamie Foreman, Frank Harper, Richard Driscoll, David Thewlis
release 11.May.01
01/UK 1h29
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
goodbye charlie bright With a refreshing take on life in a council estate, Nick Love has made one of the best British films this year. He avoids the "life is bleak and then you die" theme that runs through so many innercity British dramas, instead focussing on the joys of growing up in a tough situation. Charlie (Nicholls) and his best mate Justin (Manookian) are so inseparable their friends call them husband and wife. But the events of a hot London summer will start to apply real-life pressures on their friendship for the first time, as one of their gang (Dyer) falls in love, another heads for military service, and they all get involved in some dodgy criminal activity. Charlie finally has to make some difficult decisions about where he wants his life to go.

Love approaches this standard coming-of-age material with a real creativity--unafraid to say that life isn't all bad on the estate, despite the obvious problems. Pervasive crime, no money or prospects, single-parent homes--they're all here, but not dwelt upon as the cause of everyone's woes. These teens get up to all kinds of antics, both hilarious and terrifying, and the film's central point is that they must decide if this is a permanent path for them or just a rite of passage. Nicholls is perfect in the central role, easily capturing our affection and giving Charlie the kinetic energy and charm he needs, along with the shadows that come from the difficult aspects of his life. Manookian is a discovery--he has real screen presence and makes Justin much more than the fun-loving, irresponsible hothead the script suggests. And having such screen veterans as Daniels, Harper, Foreman and Thewlis in small but important roles adds to the film's weight. Not to mention an excellent use of the setting, a superb song score and a light touch when it comes to the serious message. A terrific debut for a new British filmmaker.
adult themes, language, violence cert 18 5.Apr.01

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"Excellent low budget British film dealing with growing up on a South London Estate. The casting was very good with newcomer Roland Manookian playing brilliantly to Paul Nicholls' character. The subject of intense male relationships between these young men was handled sensitively without straying into homophobic denials and overcompensations. Intense and touching." --Jonathan Cracknell, London 14.May.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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