Synopsis: The latest film from BAFTA award winning director Shane Meadows sees him reunited with Thomas Turgoose, the young star of the internationally "This is England." Shot in stunning black and white on location in the area of North London that the film takes its name from, Somers Town is Meadows' first film to be set outside the Midlands. Turgoose plays Tomo, a troubled young lad who's run away to London. There he meets Marek, a shy Polish teenager who shares a small flat with his labourer father in a rundown area. When Marek agrees to let Tomo stay with them, unbeknownst to his father, the pair form a strong bond as they work odd jobs for an eccentric neighbour and compete for the attention of Maria, a beautiful French waitress, and try to avoid discovery by Marek's father. [Synopsis courtesy of film's official website]
Round-up: "Without ever trivializing his characters' meager circumstances or resorting to the rags-to-riches fantasy of 'Slumdog Millionaire,' Meadows has made a lovely film about the ability of the imagination to offset the harshness of reality," writes the Village Voice's Scott Foundas. According to The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw "It's a slight, gentle, sweet-natured comedy shot in black and white, and blessed with a lovely performance from Meadows' great find, Thomas Turgoose, the teenage star of his previous film 'This Is England'... 'Somers Town' is basically a short film stretched and stretched to make a feature film, but falling well short...The feature felt maddeningly undeveloped and unfinished - maddening, because there's so much in it that is good." Unequivocally enthusiastic about the film is Spout's Karina Longworth. "I saw six films at Tribeca this weekend," she wrote after it played at the festival, "and five of them were completely blown off the map by 'Somers Town,' Shane Meadows’ practically perfect follow-up to his 2007 triumph, 'This is England.' 'England' was one of my favorite films of last year, but its political/historical aims, admittedly, occasionally overwhelmed Meadows’ more subtle, character-based observations. 'Somers Town' is less ambitious but more impressive, a 70-minute portrait of a moment with zero fat to cut and not a false note." Though he notes that "Shane Meadows is a British filmmaker with no equivalent" who is "able to explore the comic and tragic absurdities of small-town life in a populist, invigorating fashion, moving with swagger and ease from laughs to tears and back again," Time Out's Dave Calhoun does have reservations about the film. "Meadows’s filmmaking has always verged on the scrappy, which isn’t surprising for a filmmaker who cut his teeth swinging a video camera around his neighbourhood. The rough edges give his films their identity. The same is true here, but ‘Somers Town’ is the first of his films to be made away from home turf and you can feel the awkwardness of this dislocation: an encounter between Tomo and local lads doesn’t ring true and the coincidence of Tomo bumping into the same woman twice rubs against a realistic portrayal of the city."