Somers Town

Pub date August 25, 2009
SectionFilm FeaturesSectionFilm Review

PREVIEW Black and white photography born out of technical necessity transforms Somers Town into a stark and poignant portrait of the drudgery and displacement of two wayward youths in modern-day England. Tomo (Thomas Turgoose), a cheeky runaway who perhaps in a past life was a Dickensian street urchin, flees Nottingham and hops aboard a train bound for London, seeking refuge from the banality of life in the Midlands. Cornered in an alleyway, robbed, and beaten, Tomo finally finds a reluctant and unlikely friend in Marek (Piotr Jagiello), a Polish immigrant who just moved to the U.K. Unbeknownst to his father, Marek begins hiding his homeless friend in his flat. Joining forces, the two boys bond by working odd jobs for their cockney landlord, stealing clothes from a local launderette, and fighting for the affections of a charming French waitress. Director Shane Meadows (2006’s This is England) instills Somers Town with humanity and humor mined from class and culture shock, with his subtle comedic stylings springing from simple interchanges like when Marek’s landlord insists that he remove his Manchester United jersey to avoid getting roughed up by soccer hooligans. Despite these comedic moments, Meadows does not shy away from the pain of feeling adrift in a new city or country and beautifully captures the melting pot mentality that is London. From their low-rent apartment overlooking a train station that holds the promise of Paris and love and friendship, Tomo and Marek slowly but surely build a brotherly camaraderie, awakening a dreamlike, limitless world that, in the end, is a little less black and white.

SOMERS TOWN opens Fri/28 in Bay Area theaters.