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Boys’ thrills in Big smoke

PUBLISHED: 16:01 30 December 2008 | UPDATED: 17:10 16 August 2010

TAKING its title from an area of council housing situated between London s Kings Cross and Camden Town, Shane Meadows' latest feature can be seen as the lighter, more jovial cousin to last year s tale of '80s racism This Is England.

TAKING its title from an area of council housing situated between London's Kings Cross and Camden Town, Shane Meadows' latest feature can be seen as the lighter, more jovial cousin to last year's tale of '80s racism This Is England.

Thomas Turgoose plays Tomo, a 16-year-old who leaves his home town of Nottingham behind for the thrills and spills of the Big Smoke. Our boy gets more than he bargained for and quickly runs into a bunch of yobs who slap him around and pinch his bag.

Undeterred Tomo resolves to stick around and soon bumps into a 15-year-old Polish loner named Marek (Piotr Jagiello) who lets him stay in the flat he shares with his construction worker dad (Ireneusz Czop) on the condition that his old man doesn't find out.

Marek is a keen photographer and when he introduces Tomo to his favourite subject, a sexy Parisian waitress named Maria (Elisa Lasowski) who works at the local café, the two stage a series of ill-conceived attempts at winning her heart.

Shot predominantly in a lush black and white the film follows the two boys with an almost idle languor as they scrape together money from doing odd jobs, drink wine in a children's playground and attempt to woo the endlessly patient Maria.

As with all of Meadows' films the emphasis is firmly on characterisation. The dynamic between the boorish, cocksure Tomo and the shy, sensitive Marek is well-handled and sets the film up for some laugh-out-loud set pieces.

Undoubtedly breezier and more carefree than the bulk of the director's earlier work the film's gentle depiction of the two fiends' awkward passage through adolescence is refreshingly free of cynicism and full of life.

Somers Town opens in cinemas tomorrow (August 22).

Cert 12

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