Thirteen-year-old Arbor and his best friend Swifty are part of society’s outcasts, excluded from the social dynamic of both their school and their neighborhood. Forced into searching for and selling scrap metal to help feed their families, the boys come across fellow misfit Kitten (Sean Gilder, Shameless), a local scrap dealer and yard owner. Hoping to gain an extra edge in their on-the-fringes occupation, both boys attempt to win Kitten s favor Swifty by obsequiousness, Arbor by emulation. But the hardened Kitten seems to have no compassion for the youths who are yet so much like him, and the healthy competition between the two boys soon escalates until a wedge that threatens to end their friendship is driven between them. That is until a tragic event brings all three together in a way none of them ever thought possible. Echoing the unfettered depiction of British working class life of Ken Loach, director Clio Barnard s THE SELFISH GIANT is a contemporary take on the Oscar Wilde fable about the virtue of being one’s self in the face of overwhelming adversity.


“The Selfish Giant” is about how two kids can get so easily caught up in a life of crime. The echoes of the Oscar Wilde fable are felt, but somehow…this feels way more real. Urban woe and decline are plentiful in the modern era, much like dumb kids willing to do anything for a buck. Watching Arbor and Swifty navigate light underworld dealings is pretty harrowing. That is until they make a deal that they can’t fulfill.

The Ken Loach vibe is a little too strong at times. You know that something bad is going to happen to one of the kids, yet you’re hurt when it does. Loach would have never tried to have make the scrap dealer so emotional and desperate to make a connection. But, I guess you’ve got to do something to make these people seem human. If anything, it’s like “Bridge to Terabithia” for ghetto kids.

The DVD comes with interviews, featurettes and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty strong. The transfer is clean, but the Dolby track doesn’t get a ton of back channel support. Ultimately, it’s a pretty standard English movie sent to DVD. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to the curious.


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