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United Kingdom 2005
Directed by
Jan Dunn
98 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Gypo

Made under the rubric of Lars Von Trier's Dogme manifesto, which was formulated to take film back to the basics of script and performance, this British film has many companions in the Ken Loach/Mike Leigh school of British social realist cinema.

Set in Margate on England’s South-East coast it tells the story of Helen (Pauline McLynn), who is in a loveless marriage to Paul (Paul McGann),and her involvement with Romany refugee, Tasha (Chloe Sirene). It is told in three parts, each playing out the narrative from the perspective of one of the three. The film captures well the drab brutality of English urban working class society with its pervasive sense of damp monotony marked by fish and chips, lager, teenage pregnancy and bigotry.

Somewhat surprisingly for a Dogme film the script overdoes the poignancy aspect with too clearly demarcated qualities of the characters and a somewhat templated, sentimentalized narrative. McGann is mis-cast as the father for, although emotional confusion is his strong card, he has too much apparent innate intelligence to convince as the rabid racist and yobbo father and Chloe Sirene is far too attractive to be representative of the refugee class. Pauline McLynn however stands out as the struggling mother and lynch-pin of the story. If attracting criticism in its detail, the issues covered are valuable and overall the film gets its message home effectively.

 

 

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