I shouldn't have liked this film; I view most British productions with suspicion since the hype and critical acclaim surounding Four Weddings And A Funeral and The Full Monty. Since Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels there has been more 'new century - new wave' vibrations, and now we have to weed out the Guy Ritchie inspired projects, but here in a dark corner of south London there appears an ex-war zone cameraman who feels he has something to say and is not afraid of being a potential target for grudging old-wave bleeders like me.
Richard Parry started making his first film when he was 18-years-old, but it was uncompleted because he felt he didn't have "enough experience of life." South West 9 has that experience, but where you would expect him to tread heavily, soaking the celluloid with blood and bile, he adds a strange tenderness too. The main character (for me) is Mitch, played beautifully by Mick Letheren. I wasn't too sure when he first appeared, in a scene featuring two London wide-boys choc-full of street cred, and tight-timed banter, but he's the unfortunate character who sets his hand in a pool of pure LSD and is engaged to show his journey through a day-long trip. Usually in a situation like this, the director shows the world through the poor sod's perception, but Parry chooses, freshly I thought, to show Mitch through everyone else's eyes. You know that moment when the dope kicks in (I presume) - when you stop and think, 'what the bloody hell was that?' Well, that was done very authentically. The change from gentle humour to a dark, scary look across the eyes is real, and the light, drifting, dream of his meeting with a negro Mr Big, ("You're so black," he says convincingly), is touching. I watched this movie three times in two days, and I'll make that four by the end of this week, just to see if I can work out what it's really all about.
Characters with names like Dowser and Phaser, a ranting sister who C-words every phrase somehow tastefully, a white Rasta-bunny slumming it to save the world, a black yuppie girl, a stockbroker turned disco-scammer and a hammering BAFTA-winning soundtrack to beat any other collection I've heard this year. I can't wait to see what Parry comes up with next. With my ideas about Brit films slightly upturned, I recommend this to anyone who likes a laugh, a lesson and a lifestyle wake-up call!
DVD extras: behind-the-scenes footage, making-of documentary short, trailer, Dolby digital 5.1 sound, plus previously unseen footage from Human Traffic.