Directed by Alan Clarke and released in it’s home country of England in 1982.
An essential film for any Brit to watch. Every piece of dialogue is hard hitting and as brutally honest as any film about the culture of this country should be. Despite being incredibly relevant when it was made, this is so much more relevant to today’s society. The pivotal scene in the room with the chalkboard will go down in my eyes as one of the most powerful scenes in British cinema. Tim Roth’s performance is incredible and his best performance by far.
Alan Clarke will always be the best British filmmaker for me, from the late ’60s he produced brutally honest films, even when injected with humour (see Rita, Sue & Bob Too), eventually his honesty got him banned from TV (see Scum). Finishing his career with the gritty and uncompromising Elephant (one of my favourite films of all time) was the best way for him to go. Easily the best British filmmaker, any Brit needs to watch everything he’s done.
Directed by Alan Clarke, and broadcast on the BBC in 1987 as part of it’s “Screenplay” series.
Alan Clarke is one of celluloid’s greatest assets. It’s funny because he made a dire amount of theatrical feature films and just over 60 films for television – mainly the BBC and his television work far surpasses his theatrical work even though Scum, The Firm and Made In Britain are all fascinating works that showcase his exquisite talent and masterful directing abilities. You don’t get much better than Road though.
Broadcast on TV in 1987, Road is an adaptation of the famous first play of Jim Cartwright and it shines through unequivocally throughout the 67 minute run time. The characters walk through the streets addressing the camera as if they are on stage but they’re not. In cinema it’s sparsely done but imagine sitting down to watch a serious drama on TV and the characters start talking to you – also good bear in mind this was in 1987, a time in England where the streets were still rife with racism and political opposition among other things.
The musical number that closes this is quite frankly among my favourite musical numbers in the history of celluloid – I say celluloid because it’s hard to say film when it was made for and broadcast first on television.
Regardless, Road is a masterclass of acting and the ever so powerful direction of Clarke. I’m desperate to see everything I can get my hands on by the man now because he’s easily one of my favourite filmmakers of all time.
Directed by Alan Clarke for British television and first broadcast as part of the “Screenplay” series in 1987.
Christine is an incredibly bleak and uncompromising portrayal of a day in the life of a teenage drug addict. Our titular character Christine visits her friends and scores them heroin aswell as scoring it herself.
At 52 minutes it’s an incredible feat for the every day viewer to even sit through this, but as a piece of film it stands out above any other drug drama for it’s realism and it’s incredible cinematography. Clarke films his characters from every angle possible and gets in as much as he can while at the same time letting the actors do as much as they can in the little space they’re given.
The humour in the dialogue takes away from the drug use and not once do any of the characters even mention drugs or the drug in question. Reality does kick in however when Christine asks one of her friends “You alright?” over and over again as they delve deeper into their drugged state.
There’s nothing special about these characters and Clarke emphasises that as well as doing absolutely nothing to say that living a life like this is in any way “good”. As a great filmmaker should, he simply presents the facts as they are.
Obviously staged, it’s ridiculous to say that this isn’t an incredible piece of cinema. All in all Clarke has created another brilliant film, and this one is a really stark depiction of drug use that just… stays with you.