By a customer
, 03 Nov 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Strawberry Fields is a tiny UK flick predominantly funded by the Microwave Film fund. Shot in rural Kent, this comes as a breath of fresh air after so many city set movies. Obviously its not just the locale that won me over, the plot and characterisation is so well developed. Tammy (ANNA MADELEY) goes for a bike ride in the countryside and instinctively takes a job picking strawberries on a farm. Even better is the fact that the farm offers ram-shackle accommodation in caravans where a lot of the transient pickers live. Tammy makes friends with Kev (EMUN ELLIOTT PROMETHEUS), a wayward single father and ex-jailbird who is trying to make enough money to buy a car and get to Ibiza. The distant and hard to read Tammy is extremely taken with his idea of escape and view on life in general. Kev is generally viewed as the farm slag by the other girls, who have all blatantly been given Kevs charm assault in the past. Cynically, they warn Tammy that shes next. Thunder in paradise arrives in the shape of Tammys sister Emily (CHRISTINE BOTTOMLEY THE ARBOR). Emily is Tammys older sibling and it becomes apparent that she is a very needy and mentally unstable back of tricks. As manipulative and as jealous as she comes, after getting a job picking, she single handedly goes out were way to worm her way back into Tammys affections by fighting with Kev and confusing the hell out of everybody else on the farm. The emotional cruelty is bare faced but we see that Tammy wont take this lying down. Her decision to leave was a big step and now shes met Kev can she go back to nurse maiding her mentally sick sister? She has something she wants to fight for outside her stifling former life.
Beyond the characters Ive just described there is a fair amount of incident to get through. The story reveals more of the dynamics in the sisters relationship. The open fields, which at first offered so much freedom begin to become a prison again. Lines are drawn and enemies and friends are made and Strawberry Fields becomes one of the most interesting films about sibling rivalry that Ive ever seen. The performances from the central three are spot on: chilling and real. The setting is beautifully lensed and some of the locations particularly along the Kent Coast stay in the memory. Director, Frances Lea, who also wrote, has offered us an unusual film for our age. When Channel Four was releasing films every week back in the 1990s, this would have felt very at home. Im not saying Strawberry Fields is at all date. Its just that smaller more human movies like this so seldom get seen or even made these days.
7.5 out 1o If you can seek out the DVD. It was nigh on impossible to catch at the cinemas when it was released this summer. It marks out all, the director and actors as big talents to watch. A refreshing change from gangsters or Richard Curtis!
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