Movie Review By Andrea Chase
The look of "Twenty Four Seven" is reminiscent of the "angry young man" films that came out of Britain in the late fifties and early sixties. The "Sporting Game" and "Look Back in anger" school. But that's where the similarity ends. Instead of the angry rebellion against an ossified and exclusionary social system floundering in the twilight of empire, the young men of this film have lost all passion whatsoever. Beaten down not by the caste system, but by an economy gone bust, they drift in a passive stupor.
And that's what gets in Alan Darcy's craw. Remembering what his boxing club did for him when he was their age, he sets about re-organizing the club, determined to beat some sense, discipline and self-respect into the young men of his town. Maybe even some dreams. In the able person of Bob Hoskins, he's an egg-shaped Don Quixote tilting at the windmills of apathy.
The film's style is gritty, filmed in a no-nonsense black and white. Writer/director Shane Meadows creates a damning picture of a disaffected society that seems beyond hope of change and then creates a character in Darcy that seems mad to try - one that alternates between a teddy bear and a grizzly in pursuit of his goals. It's the madness, though, the slow unfolding of the intensity of his commitment and the depth of the sweet, philosophical nature driving it, that makes the film engrossing. In one revealing sequence, he also defines the frailties also lurking within. Stumbling through a conversation with a shopgirl that's caught his fancy, he becomes a smooth operator only after she leaves the room. Hoskins invests heartbreaking bravado into Darcy saying all the things he couldn't muster in her presence and finally, placing his hand over the handprint she's left on the counter.
"Twenty Four Seven" ponders an interesting question. Can a man help others to succeed if he fails himself? Can a man's fatal flaw undo the good that he's done? We have to wait until the final frames, as the credits roll, to see the sometimes surprising answer.
© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 4/29/98
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