Welcome to Britflicks, a site dedicated to supporting the British film industry. Here you will find all the latest British film news, releases, trailers and interviews as well as some great competitions prizes.
British Film Review: Harrigan
Review By Jane Foster
‘Harrigan’ A man with heart, but a tough man for tough times.
The first thing that strikes the viewer about police drama, ‘Harrigan’ is the ‘faithful old 70’s look’ the film has been given. Then the question arose, why do film makers sometimes think that it’s a good style choice to light and grade period films to look as if they were actually shot, in the particular period using actual period lighting choices and cameras of the day? Ok, so it’s a stylisation and a choice to be liked or not, but one, that because it’s a bit clichéd, takes away from the far darker subject matter of the story, the strong emotive writing and the characters. The setting of 1970’s depressed north of England might’ve been urban and grey, but the drama of the characters is dark and foreboding…. Authentic the lighting maybe, but drama enhancing?
Ditto the soundtrack. To use glam pop band, the ‘Osmonds’ track, ‘Crazy Horses’, no matter how bang on time wise and period wise, played over the top of a darkly written scene, completely took away from the drama of what was happening on screen because the music just didn’t fit dramatically, or even contrast in a subversive or interesting way. The Osmond’s inhabit a world of rhinestones, sixteen year old hormones and glam rock fluff, not the depressed north of 1970’s England during the coal miner’s strikes. All in all, ‘Harrigan’ is a confused portrayal of the world it’s trying to represent, with bits and pieces seemingly thrown in as homages from other worlds, such as those created by iconic 1970’s films, ‘Get Carter’ or even ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ The result is a film and a world that does not really hold together with any particular style or voice.
However, what does hold ‘Harrigan’ together past the first fifteen minutes are the good performances the actors, especially Stephen Tomkinson, Bill Fellows and Craig Conway are trying to get out of what keeps trying to be a brilliant script. Arthur McKenzie’s writing is intelligent and insightful throughout and from his track record, ‘Harrigan’ should have had more humour too, but there’s a feeling that it’s been cauterised. For a script as dark, with subject matter as grim as this to work well, humour of the black kind needs to be present for contrast, otherwise all the dark elements of the story just blur into sameness and greyness, sadly, a problem ‘Harrigan’ already suffers from. It’s a big shame, because many of the elements are there for a tough gem of a film to have been made, a film that felt as if it should’ve been longer, should’ve tugged at out heartstrings with careful character arcs and should’ve shown us just what economic collapse can do to a community, but ‘Harrigan’ only half hits those marks. One thing it does prove is this, ‘You can’t make a bad film out of a good script’, and ‘Harrigan’ deserves to do well on the strength of its writing and character portrayal alone.
Fans of the period, the history, the actors and the genre will love it. *** Stars.
'Harrigan' is released on DVD January !3th 2014
Copyright © Britflicks ltd - John Baker | Website Design - Kai Motta | Website Developer - Christian Abbott
Privacy & Cookies