11 January 2007

Twelve Years

There being a John Huston season on in the IFI, I rejoined that marvellous insitution yesterday - well, I thought I was joining the IFI, but as far as they were concerned I was renewing my membership, me having been a regular back in the glory days of the IFC. They gave me a free ticket for my trouble, so having paid to see the staggeringly good The Treasure of the Sierra Madre yesterday - and is there a better or more entertaining study out there of greed, jealousy, obsession, and madness? - today I returned to the Jewel of Temple Bar, there to take advantage of my complementary ticket to see London to Brighton

Hailed by some as the best British film of 2006, it's a harrowing ninety minutes, telling the story of a London prostitute and her all-too-young charge, a pubescent runaway she'd lured into the game, as they flee to Brighton in an attempt to escape their pimp, who in turn is hunting them down in order to hand them over to an aggrieved crimelord, the backstory being revealed through intermittent flashbacks. Despite its surpisingly tender heart, there's no glamour here, no snappy camera angles, no witty comebacks or cheeky cheery cockneys. This is grim, harsh, violent, frightening stuff, with a decidedly unsettling and morally ambiguous - if not entirely unpredictable - ending. It's very good. Far from enjoyable, but very good.*

It's funny, it was only looking at the calendar earlier that I realised the very first time I ever went to the cinema two days in succession was twelve years ago exactly, 10th and 11th of January 1994. I've still got one of the tickets, bookmarking an epic I was reading at the time.
* Although the lack of seagulls in the Brighton scenes detracts from the overall sense of authenthicity.

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