The Scouting Book For Boys is in Cinemas now. Winning, Best British Newcomer at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival in 2009, and the Observer offering this plaudit: “Exhilarating…a twisted Romeo and Juliet for the Skins generation”, it seems that Tom Harper is on the road to success. The film was written by Jack Thorne (Skins, Shameless) and produced by Christian Colson and Ivana MacKinnon of Cloud Eight Films (Slumdog Millionaire).
With Thomas Turgoose (This is England, Somers Town) and Holliday Grainger (Awaydays), before the opening scene even rolls – it’s something to be excited about. British cinema is on the rise, if the recession has taught us one thing, it’s this – not to be too gratuitous in all aspects of life. People are bored of the high-budget Hollywood blockbuster and want something more from the heart and mind, which The Scouting Book For Boys delivers.
The story begins with best friends David and Emily and their carefree lives in a coastal caravan park. Although, they’re not on holiday, they actually live there, and you can see from the onset how this affects their lives. Neither have particularly amazing home lives, with David’s dad always asleep because he works shifts in the park and Emily’s mother always drunk.
So, when David learns that Emily is being forced to move away, he helps her hide out in a remote cave on the beach. At first it’s a bit of a game, but then their innocent secret soon becomes complicated, as David watches the police close in on his missing friend. David even begins to appeal for witnesses on local television. He’s able to look into the camera and feign grief. Although, when the real reason Emily wants to escape comes to light, David’s world is shattered. Swept up in a situation out of his control, and with his feelings for his best friend intensifying, David is forced to take action.
It’s a film of many proportions. First you feel a sense of loss for both David and Emily, with their home lives being nothing spectacular, they take comfort in each other. However, as adolescence goes, David develops a crush on Emily, and those feeling are not reciprocated. As usual she’s a 14 or 15 year-old girl going on 20.
There are some great cinematic moments, brilliant camera angles that really enhance to overarching feeling of the film – moments of sadness, desperation and loneliness. This clever shooting only adds to the overall sentiment of the film. It’s a critique on modern society, and the boundaries of the self, which can be ultimately scary.
Another aspect of this film that stands out is music from Noah and the Whale. It completely sets the atmosphere.
The Scouting Book For Boys opened in cinemas on 19 March, go see it this weekend!