2 June 2014

Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky


Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky 2005
  • Director: Simon Curtis
  • Based on the novel by Patrick Hamilton
  • Cast: Bryan Dick, Sally Hawkins, Zoë Tapper, Jacqueline Tong, Tony Haygarth, Philip Davis, Neil Stuke, Susan Wooldridge, Ruth Sheen, Kathy Burke
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Bryan Dick -  Morvern Callar, Colour Me Kubrick
    • Sally Hawkins – Never Let Me Go, An Education, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Happy-Go-Lightly, Little Britain, Vera Drake
    • Zoë Tapper – Othello (Globe), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Retold),
    • Jacqueline Tong – David Copperfield, Middlemarch, Upstairs Downstairs
    • Tony Haygarth – Gracie, Under the Greenwood Tree, Clockwise, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Holocaust, I Claudius
    • Philip Davis – Merlin, Brighton Rock, Another Year, Notes on a Scandal, Rose and Maloney, Vera Drake, White Teeth, Secrets and Lies, Alien 3, Quadrophenia
    • Neil Stuke – Sliding Doors, Cold Lazarus, Karaoke
    • Ruth Sheen – Another Year, Vera Drake, Secrets and Lies
    • Kathy Burke – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Elizabeth, Nil by Mouth, Absolutely Fabulous, Sid and Nancy
  • Why? A favourite novel.
  • Seen: May 31, 2014.
The time: the 1920’s. The place: London. The characters: Bob is a young waiter with literary pretensions. He works in a pub and falls for Jenny who happens to be a prostitute. And ill. Ella is a mousy barmaid who is sweet on Bob but it courted aggressively by the boring and creepy middle-aged geezer Mr. Eccles.
The story revolves around these four, a quartet of unhappy loners caught in a life not of their choosing. What dreams they have seem to just crumble.
The pace is slow and low-key, the atmosphere is often dark.  The 20’s as an era is vividly present. The many close-ups of the actors’ faces bring us into their thoughts and feelings.  Hawkins and Tapper are especially strong and Davis, who I remember as the kindly Maloney in Rose and Maloney, is well cast as the lonely and scary Mr. Eccles.
The film was, I believe, originally shown as a BBC mini-series but we’re watching it as a two and a half hour film, which also works.
It’s well done - the Beeb always delivers – and I like it very much.  I don’t quite love it though, not like I love the novel.

3 ½ * of 5

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