Monday, November 3, 2008

Scum (1979, Ray Winstone)

Ok, Halloween is over. Now I'm going to branch out a little and review some non-horror films. People keep asking "so are you going to strictly review horror movies?" Well, this review should answer that question.

Ray Winstone is an actor that only recently came to my attention with his roles in The Proposition, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (review coming soon), The Departed and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I read about an early role he did in a controversial film called Scum and decided to check it out. The fact that it was released on the great Blue Underground helped seal the deal.

Ray Winstone plays Carlin, a young delinquent thrown in a juvenile detention center with a bunch of violent and troubled hooligans. After being attacked by some of the inmates, he decides things are going to change. Soon Carlin takes charge and actually makes things worse the others, changing nothing for the better. The other inmates have their own struggles to deal with, including suicide, racism, violence and rape.

Scum is a bleak and depressing film. I kept expecting Winstone's character to rise above the brutality of his fellow "Screws" and "Cons". I think the fact he ends up adding to the problem is what makes the film so raw and powerful. My only real complaint with the film are the scenes with the vegetarian Atheist, Archer and the unnecessary focus on some of the lesser characters. If Winstone was in every scene, the film would have only benefitted from it.


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