The BFI are good at digging out their vaults and here they have resurrected a forgotten about, and in some cases never even knew about, film by Ton Scott (Credited as Anthony Scott). Many know about his little war drama that he had his older brother Ridley appear in (One of the Missing) returning the favour having made Tony the star of his own original short film (Boy and Bicycle).
It’s beautifully shot by Chris Menges (Kes) and transfers well to Blu-Ray with only a few early shots that seem beyond redemption left in grainy blur. The colour scheme also jumps around a bit early on which is harder to spot on B/W but keen eyes will see the subtle tonal shifts as the film is hardly edited as quickly as Scott’s latter Brukheimer films.
The story concerns a young man who is knocked down off his bike by an elderly brother and sister. They resort to packing the corpse in their car and taking it home to use as a substitute for their long dead brother. The man spends most of his time out mining whilst the woman spends her time cleaning and relating her family history to the dead man.
Naturally, we are in strange psychological drama but a very British one at that. It could almost be like watching Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads but with just more players (albeit only one seems to do the talking).
This is the stuff film student’s love to wrap their minds around, fans of British cinema will love it as well but the general public who like things to be a bit more exciting will probably find this to be the longest 50 minutes of their life and have only themselves to blame for not reading the back of the cover fully.
If I wanted to get rally pedantic then I’d point out that the corpse seems to do a lot of breathing and even flinching when having coins placed on his eyelids at the end.
It’s interesting in that it is such a beautifully shot film with a slow pace and minimal dialogue and from this point, Scott could have easily ended up as part of the “Oh aren’t things grim up north gang” along with the Loach’s and Leigh’s of Britain, but to guess that in two films time he would be filming topless, hunky men playing beach ball in one of the 80’s biggest hits, making a confirmed star out of Tom Cruise, would have been an off guess indeed.
This Blu-Ray edition also comes with both the Scott brother’s early works also revamped in quality, so any Scott brother fans will want to add this to their collection. There are also a couple of short essays to accompany this and that’s it. It’s very strange that Scott himself hasn’t been interviewed for the release, no documentary and no commentary from anyone, not even a film historian, which would have been nice. There was a wasted opportunity there but I guess they felt they’d just let the short films speak for themselves.