Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France/United Kingdom/Germany, 2007. Hammer & Tongs, Celluloid Dreams, Good Film Productions, Arte France Cinéma, Network Movie Film-und Fernsehproduktion, Reason Pictures, Soficinéma 2, Soficinéma 3, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen. Screenplay by Garth Jennings. Cinematography by Jess Hall. Produced by Nick Goldsmith. Music by Joby Talbot. Production Design by Joel Collins. Costume Design by Harriet Cawley. Film Editing by Dominic Leung. Toronto International Film Festival 2007.
Sheltered, Quaker-raised William meets wealthy, parentally-ignored bully Lee and the two go into business together: Lee wants to make a film to enter into a British television contest, and after William accidentally sees Sylvester Stallone in First Blood at Lee’s house, he wants to be an action star. Suddenly this completely uncultured young man is engaging in very low-budget stunt work, writing dialogue inspired by Stallone’s film and integrating himself into the social network of his school thanks to the project’s getting attention from classmates. Then trouble hits when the French exchange student who has created a following among his fellow students wants to be featured in it, while William’s religious brotherhood begins to suspect that he is being negatively influenced by the “outside” world. This poignant comedy is hysterically funny from beginning to end, then adds a lot of emotional resonance to boot. The two young actors in the leads, Bill Milner and Will Poulter, couldn’t possibly be more appealing or talented, and the whimsical nature of the exceptional screenplay makes it a gem.