Childhood naïveté and the stark reality of poverty come head to head in Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant.
After they are expelled from school, young Bradford teens Arbor (Conner Chapman) and Swifty (Shaun Thomas) meet scrap dealer Kitten (Sean Gilder). With the opportunity to make money in a community with no prospects, the boys begin to collect scrap metal, at times resorting to illegal means. But when Kitten recognises Swifty’s talent for horseriding, Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and volatile and the two boys’ infallible friendship is set to burn.
A haunting and tragic reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s fable; it is beautifully understated and brilliantly portrayed.
It is a shame that the ending is so rushed when the rest of the film is paced so delicately. (ATS)