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Youth on the skids...

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Posted 4th May 2009 at 10:16 AM by Sam@Cult Labs


The daddy of British youth crime movies and based on an instantly banned BBC production, Scum is a brutal portrayal of the harsh conditions in a Borstal, an archaic youth offenders unit that sort to brutalize prisoners into conforming to societies rules but instead turned out a generation of hard case psychos who'd had the humanity beaten out of them. Rife with racism, male rape and violence, Scum is not an easy watch, even by today's more liberal standards of censorship. It's tells the story of Carling, a bitter sociopath with a bad attitude who is sent to the toughest borstal around after misbehaving in easier prisons. On arrival the guards try to break him but he's on a mission to become the top dog and no ones going to stand in his way.

What makes Scum work is the attention played to the sub plots of the more minor characters, whose bleak lives are told with humanity despite the vile conditions they find themselves in. Uncompromising and harsh, Scum was made as the old regime was coming to an end and sounded the death knell for these kind of hell holes, but the director and cast, many of whom will be easily recognized from UK TV shows like The Bill and Only Fools And Horses, do a fine job with a tough subject.

Rude Boy

Flawed but still essential document of The Clash at their politically righteous peak, a band that encapsulated the rebel stance of punks first wave. The movie mixes documentary footage, concert film of the band playing live, including a scorching gig at a Rock Against Racism gig, and a slightly weak story about a fan following the band.

Ray Gange lives in a grim vision of London, filled with disaffected punks and brutally suppressive cops. Ray gets his dole, gets drunk and has meaningless sex. The Clash are the only thing that have any meaning and he works as a part-time roadie for them. But Ray can't control his drinking or his life, which leads to him alienating the band and everyone around him...

This is a movie where lots of interesting elements add up to far less than they should, have but hey...It's The Clash so there's still a lot to love. If the dramatic elements go off the boil for you, reach for the remote and fast-forward to the concerts.
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