Friday, 4 March 2011

22) THE SCOUTING BOOK FOR BOYS


Thomas Turgoose made a huge impression as the youthfull lead in Shade Meadows THIS IS ENGLAND and has followed this up with a series of strong showings in other, low budget, films.  SCOUTING was the one I had missed and was given it to watch, both as reference for a film in development, but as an overlooked gem.  I gotta say, for what it is, it’s pretty damn good.
A simple tail of the friendship between a boy (David)and a girl (Emily), both living in the middle of a holiday camp, becomes a heartbreaking study of a confused young man as he is asked to help plan her ‘disappearance’.  The script takes a simple set of issues, and follows a small group of characters as they each struggle with the fallout of the missing girl, in unexpected ways. And, by small, I mean tiny. Susan Lynch, one of the best (and overlooked) actresses in the uk, is brilliant in the rather clich├ęd role of the trailer park mother. Rafe Spall increasing sympathetic as a man for whom events take on a tragic air, despite his characters very dubious nature. And thats it! Oh there are a few other people in the credits, but just one pair of adults are left to support the stars of this film, and it’s telling that they often feel surplus to requirements, such is the tender display from the leads.

Opposite Thurgoose, as the girl who wants to hide, is Holliday Granger as the mischievious Emily. She manages  to be both innocent and minx, show warmth and tenderness alongside a selfishness that keeps her character feeling fresh. Together, the two young stars fill the scenes they inhabit with countless awkward looks and beats, clearly conveying the feelings of young people at odds with the world and their hormones. You care for them both, as the films tightens, with Thurgoose’s David agonising  over his choices, hopes and fears. To describe the story would add spoilers, but the ending contains some of Thurgoose’s best performace to date, as well as being a beautifully written moment to still cause thought and discussion afterwards.

Low budget,  quality piece

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