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Teenage runaways in London..
This film written by a fledgling Stephen Poliakoff and directed by Charles Sturridge wasn't given a proper theatrical release as far as I'm aware but was played a few times on television in the early eighties. It deals in a realistic and sometimes grim and dirty manner with the subject of teenage runaways, following the story of a girl who runs away from her (relatively loving) family to live in London. She ends up homeless, her parents don't hear from her and her father sets out to find her. Apart from an interesting if depressing soundtrack and some very memorable shots of desolate parts of London, dirty train stations and an empty indoor pool, the film does have a slightly TV-movie production quality to it, although perhaps this is because I only managed to see it broadcast. An interesting early work from Poliakoff.
Get the Picture (2004)
Intense and intelligent
I caught this unusually well-made, chilling short film on Channel 4. I was gripped from the start, and being a big fan of Brian Cox, I started fumbling for a blank VHS.. I'd never heard of this movie! The look and intensity of the film, the soundtrack and the actors all felt like a new feature, so I was surprised and a little disappointed that it turned out to be a short.
Looking it up online, "Get the Picture" is described as "a ten minute pilot for the feature "Fourth Wall", written and directed by Rupert Wyatt. Lets hope the wonderful Cox is a part of it - if this is a pilot, I think we can hope for great things in the feature. Cox has recently graced many American movies - Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy, Troy, 25th Hour - it would be great to see him in a gritty new British film.
Commissioned by MI5?
Spooks has been waiting to be made ever since Fleming's Bond started the wild-fantasy spy genre. This is an attempt at a realistic depiction of the activities and lives of MI5 agents, in the way that The Bill or Casualty depict those professions. Sometimes this gives an eerie feeling of the series having been commissioned by MI5 in order to get an influx of new, preferably ethnic-minority, recruits.. but the plots are always riveting, dangerous and violent so it makes for great TV.
Most of the main characters from the first series have now left in various ways... except the boss and of course Colin.. who has to be my favourite character who no-one ever mentions. He's the most realistic spook to me.