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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Perry Benson
Piotr Jagiello
Elisa Lasowski
Thomas Turgoose.
Directors
Shane Meadows.
Screenwriters
Paul Fraser.
Running Time
71 minutes

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Somers Town
It’s a small, perfectly formed Meadows lark


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Plot
Arriving in London to escape his tough Nottingham existence, orphan Tomo (Turgoose) is viciously mugged. But his fortunes take an upswing when he meets shy Polish teen Marek (Jagiello) and the pair form a friendship built on goofing about and harebrained money-making schemes...


Review
Somers Town
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Arriving in London to escape his tough Nottingham existence, orphan Tomo (Turgoose) is viciously mugged. But his fortunes take an upswing when he meets shy Polish teen Marek (Jagiello) and the pair form a friendship built on goofing about and harebrained money-making schemes...

Following the fireworks of This Is England, Shane Meadows powers down for another beautifully modulated study of young manhood. Centred around the redevelopment of London’s St. Pancras station, Somers Town charts the poignant friendship between an emotionally bruised Midlands teen and an older yet more naive Polish lad, finding skeins of magic in the ordinary. At 71 minutes, it’s undoubtedly a slight and brisk picture but, if nothing else, it should be lauded for adding different colours to Meadows’ increasingly broad and impressive palette.

Written by regular cohort Paul Fraser, this is Meadows through and through. The under-the radar blue-collar existence, represented here by Perry Benson’s alpha loser Graham Cutler (“from a long line of Cutlers”) who enlists the boys’ help in a sanding-down-deckchairs business and plants Marek in an Arsenal shirt reading ‘Terry Henry’, is warmly evinced, Meadows never parodying or patronising his wheeler dealers. There are also lovely comedic vignettes, with Tomo forced to wear old women’s clothes after his one jacket is ruined in the wash and the boys’ first foray into booze ending in a wrecked living room.

Where this really shines, though, is in its touching depiction of cross-cultural friendship. If This Is England saw Turgoose become a star, here the camera knows he’s a star, carrying the movie with charm, charisma and masked vulnerability. He is beautifully aided and abetted by newcomer Jagiello, who lends Marek a slight, simple innocence. There is also a sweetness new to Meadows’ work, the boys’ infatuation with a French waitress (Lasowski) shot through with tangible adolescent longing.

After years of documenting his beloved hometown of Nottingham, Meadows’ shows an equally astute eye for this North London locale, lensing the various housing estates and industrial backdrops in a gorgeous, crisp monochrome, poignantly capturing a landscape in transition. Much has been made of the fact that Somers Town has been sponsored by Eurostar, but it in no way feels like a corporate promo. It may have small-time ambitions, but the long-time smile it plants across your face is huge.


Extras

Somers Town Somers Town
Released: 12 January 2009
Only a fairly prosaic interview with the director.


Verdict
Meadows in a minor key but still a major delight; his improvised feel, sparky comedy and interest in the truth of youth services a story that’s both winning and winsome.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Somers Town
Empire Star Rating

Somers Town Review

Shane Meadows hits the spot with this short but sweet slice of good natured comedy, surprisingly, as it's essentially an extended black & white advert for a train station. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:30, 14 April 2012 | Report This Post


Grim

Of cause it's grim Shane Meadows made it - ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 16:52, 28 August 2011 | Report This Post


Somers Town Movie Review

Somers Town (2008) is fresh and lighthearted coming of age story that has real-life charm and drama. It is serious yet fun look at growing up. The people you meet and the situations you get into, as well as your dreams, truly shape who you are. Being filmed in black and white gives it a clean feel that enables you to focus on the events and characters without distraction. The original music by Gaven Clark is refreshing and perfectly fits the style of the film. Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) has ju... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dbin78 at 04:13, 05 September 2009 | Report This Post


NOT A BAD MOVIE.

In many ways this is a very good movie & good cast as well ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by soulfood at 22:38, 23 January 2009 | Report This Post


disappointing

I too cannot believe all the great reviews this is getting. I don't like bad mouthing movies but this is massively disappointing and I am certain if this was a debut feature from a new director it would not be receiving all the praise it currently is. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by boriordan at 12:13, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Somers Town

L: Indio I rather enjoyed it, theres not a lot going on plot wise but all the actors involved acquitted themselves rather well I thought, and while it doesn't compare to Dead Mans Shoes, Romeo Brass or This Is England I found it infinitelky preferable to Once Upon A Time In The Midlands. I don't know where you watched it but I saw a digital presentation at the Curzon in Soho and found nothing wrong with the cinematography, either in black and white or the very short colour sequences ... More

Posted by El Becks at 08:05, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Somers Town

L: frankie Disappointing. I'm a big fan of meadow's previous films. This is England was my favourite film of last year, but I found this to be poor and it felt a LOT longer than it's short running time. Why it had to be in black & White i don't know. On a purely visual level, I found it really hard to watch as the monochrome cinematography is so poor. Although when we eventually do see some colour it is so out of focus that I wanted the black and white back. But it wasn't just tha... More

Posted by Venkman at 17:14, 25 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Somers Town

I rather enjoyed it, theres not a lot going on plot wise but all the actors involved acquitted themselves rather well I thought, and while it doesn't compare to Dead Mans Shoes, Romeo Brass or This Is England I found it infinitelky preferable to Once Upon A Time In The Midlands.   I don't know where you watched it but I saw a digital presentation at the Curzon in Soho and found nothing wrong with the cinematography, either in black and white or the very short colour sequences at the e... More

Posted by Indio at 00:27, 23 August 2008 | Report This Post


Somers Town

Disappointing. I'm a big fan of meadow's previous films. This is England was my favourite film of last year, but I found this to be poor and it felt a LOT longer than it's short running time. Why it had to be in black & White i don't know. On a purely visual level, I found it really hard to watch as the monochrome cinematography is so poor. Although when we eventually do see some colour it is so out of focus that I wanted the black and white back. But it wasn't just that I felt was wrong w... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by frankie at 17:17, 22 August 2008 | Report This Post


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