Every Friday I choose one of my favourite movies for a brief overview.
- Genre: crime / drama
- Director: Alan Clarke
- Release: 1979
- Starring: Ray Winstone, Mick Ford, Phil Daniels
- Tagline: The film they tried to ban! A brutal story of today.
- Instant favourite: Pretty much but probably appreciated it more as I got older.
- Favourite character: CARLIN of course! Though Archer is fabulous.
- What do I love most about it? It’s a very, very good movie. Shocking, unapologetic and highly intelligent. Also spawned some of Winstone’s most recognisable quotes – even to this day. Plus, because this is a British movie from the 70s SO many actors pop up that you recognise, when they were only 16 or 17 years old and at the time, unknown.
- Top 10, 50 or 100? Top 10
- Own? Yes, on DVD
- Poorest bit? It’s very upsetting in places. And I mean VERY upsetting.
“Sometimes, someday I somehow get the strangest notion they’re trying to break my spirit.” – Archer
Scum was written as a true-to-life account of life in a boys Borstal. For those of you that don’t know, Borstal was a name given to youth detention centres in the UK (I believe ‘Reform School’ may be the US equivalent). They were abolished in the 1980s.
In this film Ray Winstone stars as 16 year old Carlin, a new inmate to Borstal.
The film was really made to highlight the cruelty, bullying, violence and racism that went on in Borstal – mainly by the prison guards. But the narrative also follows Carlin as he protects himself and rises up through the ranks.
This film is very hard to watch in places, but it is very intelligent and well written. Some of the conversations are so poignant and the script is excellent. (And it’s fun seeing Ray Winstone do what he does best).
Scum is such a shocking, hard hitting movie. But it’s also fucking brilliant. Everyone should watch it.