For Reel


Meantime (1984)
July 7, 2017, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Mike Leigh
3.5 Stars
MeantimeDirector Mike Leigh first came into the spotlight with Meantime, a brutal, aimless slice of social realism set in Thatcher’s England. In the film, two brothers (Phil Daniels and Tim Roth) navigate life in an unemployed, government-supported household. Colin (Roth) seems to have something mentally wrong with him, with his disaffected, open maw serving as a mask against the abuse that he takes, whereas Mark (Phil Daniels) is arrogant and mean-spirited, often picking fights with both his brother and parents. The leader of this chain of abuse, however, is Coxy (Gary Oldman), a skinhead grifter whose anarchist disposition resonates with the embittered Mark. In this world, not only are the lower class living in absolute squalor, but it seems as if everyone is using somebody else as a vessel for their anger—only by belittling each other can they let their pain out into the world. Colin, whose seeming ambivalence sometimes seems ideal considering the alternatives, is the physical manifestation of his world, burrowing deeper into a sofa with no hope of escaping.

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Naked (1993)
April 30, 2011, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Mike Leigh

Perhaps the most brutal of Mike Leigh’s films, which often involve secluded, hopelessly lost men and women, Naked succeeds with the performances of Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, and the star-making turn by David Thewlis. It takes a lot to make a character as despicable as Johnny – who, in the first scene of the film, is raping a woman in an alley – sympathetic to the audience, however Thewlis is successfully charming even during his long-winded tangents wherein he relays conspiracy theories about the impending apocalypse. Just as many of Leigh’s films deal with people who have simply fallen by the wayside socially, Naked suggests that Thewlis’ character is an undiagnosed manic depressive, discarded and left to fend for himself on the streets.