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Cast: Christian Martin, Oliver Park, Alice Payne, Bernie Hodges, Garry Summers, Louise Fearnside, Wayne Virgo, Tom Bott, Alice Payne, Marc Laurent and others
A closeted teenage street punk takes up with the latest roughed-up gay victim of his bullying gang, which does not set well with the gang's drugged-up, brotherly leader.
Available in versions: DVD
Shank  Simon Pearce (Size: 699.47 MB)
Teenage gang member Cal, hides his sexuality from the his fellow happy slapping gang members despite their often futile and violent dislike of anyone that isn't the same as them be they unsuspecting shoppers, foreign students, gays etc. Hooking up with a random stranger (Scott), Cal is unaware that this chance meeting will eventually provide him with choices and routes of escape from the tedium of his unambitious and depraved life.
Wayne Virgo ... Cal
Marc Laurent ... Olivier
Alice Payne ... Nessa
Alice Payne ... Nessa
Tom Bott ... Jonno
Garry Summers ... Scott
Bernie Hodges ... Will
Christian Martin ... David
For much of director Simon PearceΓΓé¼Γäós British gang drama Shank, about a gay thug coming to terms with his sexuality, the filmΓΓé¼Γäós style deserves a rougher adjective than ΓΓé¼╦£gritty.ΓΓé¼Γäó If there were a word that gave the impression of swallowing ground glass once used in a vial of aqua regia, that might suffice, but my thesaurus is coming up empty.
PearceΓΓé¼Γäós movie is essentially a mix of Kids and something Gus Van Sant might have directed in the early 90s. Cal hides his homosexuality from his friends, engaging in various anonymous hook-ups arranged on line, but the sexual tension between him and his best friend Jonno (Tom Bott) is palpable. When he prevents Jonno and sociopathic chavette Nessa (Alice Payne) from beating a gay student to death, he finds himself hunted by his former friends, and smitten with the victim, Olivier (Marc Laurent).
Flaxstone and Martin seem to have been inspired by all those films that bring seemingly unrelated subplots together for a dramatic finale. The fact is, it still works here with just a hint of melodramatic coincidence. The middle of the story lags a bit, but Simon Pearce's direction is top notch. The film is very low-budget, the sex in the unrated DVD edition is very explicit, but it's amazing how unlike "Wrecked" this is. Pearce seems to be following the script (no uncomfortable improv noticed), and the editing is great. The musical score is heavy with rap, a genre I wish would go away, but this is the music of these hoods, and it works.
The cast is all good. Laurent really is French, so his hesitant English is appropriate. Virgo as Cal is excellent. His self-loathing is believable, but Pearce doesn't let him change overnight once he finds Olivier. Bott, Payne, and especially Summers all score in their scenes, each is given a chance to shine as they explore their characters' respective mental anguish.
Shank is a tough film that unflinchingly asks a lot of its audience. A hate story, a love story, a story of tribal ties, of friendships ripped asunder, a story of honesty, deception, of happiness and pain, this film addresses every contradictory thing about the human condition and reworks it into something unique and wonderful. Compelling, excruciating, uncompromising, Shank is a beautiful, brutal film that portrays the contemporary world in all its unlovely and lovely glory.
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