'This ain't London, it's not even f***ing Nottingham. It is Sneanton.'
A voiceover from Shane Meadows that serves as a statement of intent and
purpose. A voiceover to rival Ewan McGregor's in 'Trainspotting'
- Meadows' first feature film 'Small Time' gets a DVD release from the
BFI today and following on from the success of his television debut,
'This is England '86' it serves as a timely reminder of how a young
talent was cultivated and developed.
Full of humour, sight gags, funny characters but with an underlying
dark context it reminds of what is achievable when you mix talent with
patience and with proper financial backing.
With more than a touch of naturalism or 'fly-on-the-wall' about it due
to the energetic handheld camerawork and location shooting, Meadows is
able to weave in his typical inclination for eccentric characters; the
movie also serves as a time capsule for the moment (the women dropping
in Power Rangers and Nintendo into a conversation) and the dress code
of shellsuits and mad hair from the BritPop era.
The accomplishment of the film must be admired as it does smack of
improvisation coupled with a sheer frenzy of guerilla movie-making but
something that is better than it appears; it looks cheap in its
production but the riches are in the layers; the ingenious comic
dialogue, the acting (from professionals and unknown actors) and the
Meadows has always been his own voice, never leaving his East Midlands
homestead for the money and comfort of London; he is his own director
and along with Danny Boyle the closest thing Britain has to an auteur
from their generation. His authorial fingerprint of gritty
realism with a flash of whimsical sensibilites are heralded here and
serve notice of what else was to come from his formidable filmography.
The DVD includes the extras of 'Where's the Money Ronnie!' Meadows
short film homage to Akira Kursosawa's 'Rashomon', where four suspects
give differing versions of a robbery. Also film notes and credits for
SMALL TIME is released by BFI on DVD from 11 October for £12.99
RRP. Available from www.bfi.org.uk/filmstore