Good Ideas, Poorly Executed
, 10 Jun 2011
Regardless of what the quote on the front of the DVD states, this is not 'the British crime film we've all been waiting for'. Far from it. The basis of this film is a simple one; a student film-maker follows and films a local thug (the titular Terry) as he goes about his day-to-day business as a petty criminal on the streets of London. The reason why Terry was chosen by the student to be his study subject is never revealed.
There really isn't much of a plot holding this film together, more a series of increasingly depraved situations involving Terry and his supporting cast of equally boorish friends. At times, the film touches upon interesting themes, yet never develops the ideas any further. For example, at various moments during the film, Terry develops an intense anger towards innocent people, sometimes lashing out. Why does he do this? A tragic upbringing? Haunted by a past trauma? The viewer never discovers the true nature of Terry's character and is left to assume that his behaviour is due to his constant drug abuse. We also get the feeling that the student film-maker is being drawn into Terry's destructive lifestyle but, again, this idea is never developed.
As the film progressed, all of the characters became so unlikeable that, by the end, I couldn't care less what happened to any of them, whether it was good or bad. When the film finally draws to a close, the ending is so lackluster that the only question you'll be asking is why you bothered to sit through the movie in the first place.
Obviously, using well known actors in a film like this would have shattered the illusion completely and the cast provide convincing (albeit not groundbreaking) performances throughout, which adds to the authenticity of the film.
In all, I'd say that I'm disappointed with this film, which is a shame because the premise and ideas are all interesting. The film-makers seem to be under the impression that this film is a fictionalised exposé of the criminal British sub-culture, but the audience already knows of it's existance in the first place.
Under the surface of the film is a very human, tragic story waiting to be told, yet it never gets it's time to shine. This film lacks the poignancy and heart of 'This Is England' and lacks the chilling foreboding of 'Tony', another low budget British film. As unfortunate as it is, it seems that Terry will barely become a footnote in British cinema and is likely to be filed alongside Danny Dyer's back catalogue of dross.
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