Dec 31, 2014

Made in Britain




What a great biting irony of history that Great Britain—the fallen empire that declared war against Uncle Adolf’s Aryan utopia after it invaded Poland in 1939 in what would prove to be a distinctly deleterious war that would ultimately lead to the country's decline as a global power—would ultimately be responsible for producing the most degenerate neo-Nazis in the world, skinheads, who seemed to personify everything the real German National Socialist where against as aesthetically repugnant untermenschen who, with their shaved heads and tattoos, more or less resembled concentration camp survivors on steroids. Instead of curtained haircuts, super suave uniforms, and Richard Wagner, the skinheads had shaved heads, the ultimate proletarian ‘uniform’ as partly inspired by Jamaican Negros, and third rate punk rock bands like Skrewdriver. Of course, the skinhead movement was probably the most catastrophic thing to happen to National Socialism since Stalingrad and in the social realist ‘television play’ Tales Out of School: Made in Britain aka Made in Britain (1982) directed by British left-wing filmmaker Alan Clarke (Scum, Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire) one gets a small idea of the sort of social misfits that the degenerate skinhead lifestyle appeals to. Starring Tim Roth—a fellow who, despite his big nose and German Jewish surname (notably, the actor’s card-carrying communist father changed the family name from Smith to Roth in the 1940s, “partly through solidarity with the victims of the Holocaust, partly because the English were far from welcome in some of the countries to which his job took him”), is not actually a member of the Hebraic tribe—in his debut film role as a scrawny yet tough and primitively intelligent skinhead punk who unwittingly proves the failure of the establishment to deal with the working-class and society in general after causing all sorts of havoc around his town after being placed in an exceedingly ineffective detention unit run by weak bureaucrats, Clarke’s film depicts the archetypical neo-Nazi skinhead as a impulsive nihilist, small-time criminal, and born failure who wages a one-man war in vain against a bloated bureaucratic system that does not even know he exists. Notably, the skinhead antihero is not so much of a National Socialist as he is a disgruntled antisocial teenage tosser that resents the fact that Pakis and other wogs who do not even speak English have successful businesses in his neighborhood while he and most people his age cannot even find an entry-level job. Featuring music by the Scottish punk band The Exploited instead of shitty neo-Nazi punks like Skrewdriver, the cynically titled Made in Britain paints a particularly pathetic portrait of Thatcher era England as an abject failure of a multicultural sewer full of pissed off proles and a disillusioned yet ass-kissing middle-class.  One of the first British films of its kind shot by cinematographer Chris Menges (Ken Loach’s Kes, Stephen Frears’ Bloody Kids) on a Steadicam, Clarke’s film is like a gritty punk take on kitchen sink realism, albeit without any of the juvenile posturing and wankery that one might expect had the film been directed by an actual punk. 



 Trevor (Tim Roth) is a 16-year-old skinhead with a Manson-esque swastika tattooed to his forehead that gets his kicks breaking into cars and going on joy rides, getting high huffing glue, and throwing bricks through store windows, especially at businesses owned by wogs.  As punishment for throwing a brick through a lounge window and hitting its Paki owner Mr. Shahnawaz in the head, Trevor is sent to a place called Hooper Street Residential Assessment Center for six weeks where he will wait to receive his punishment for another charge in regard to theft of cassettes from a department store called Harrods. When the judge at his sentencing reads off his list of previous offenses and remarks, “It’s a long, depressing list. Are you not ashamed of yourself?,” the perennially grinning Trevor gives an affirmative “no.”  Unfortunately for Trevor, his personal social worker Harry Parker (Eric Richard)—the only adult that the antihero seems to respect in any sort of meaningful way—is going on vacation to the Greek island of Corfu, thus leaving the skinhead to feel abandoned and even more prone to criminality. When Trevor is brought to the assessment center to be ‘assessed,’ the social worker in charge, Peter Clive (Bill Stewart), acts discernibly annoyed by the fact that he has to deal with yet another juvenile delinquent, thus reflecting the general attitude of those that run the juvenile justice system.  Somewhat humorously but certainly not surprisingly, Trevor’s roommate is a dopey negro named Errol Duprey (Terry Richards) who remarks in a somewhat shocked fashion upon seeing his new roommate, “You got a swastika on your head,” but does not seem particularly bothered about the white boy’s antipathy towards wogs like himself.  Under the pretense of seeking employment at a work center, Trevor leaves the assessment center and takes Errol to steal a car and huff Evo-Stik glue. While Errol is nodding out in the car after inhaling too much sticky stuff, Trevor goes inside the work center where he ultimately decides to throw a brick through the front window after becoming annoyed with the two-minute-long job search, especially after talking to the intolerably bitchy and passive-aggressive secretary who works there.  From there, Trevor takes Errol to an abandoned indoor pool where he has stored a set of keys and tools for stealing cars and subsequently allows the wog to pick out the next car that they will steal together, though he kicks him out before going on a joy ride. 



 When Trevor gets back to the assessment center, Peter sees him getting out of the stolen car and demands that he take it back.  After facing resistance from the skinhead, pansy pushover Peter ultimately makes a compromise with Trevor that he just get rid of the car instead of taking it back to where he stole it from and when the social worker later asks him what he did with the car, he sarcastically replies, “I gave it to Oxfam. They’re using it to ship wogs back to Zululand.”  When Trevor is denied lunch after he arrives back at the assessment center too late, he becomes ballistic, begins kicking in doors, and assaults the cook (Jim Dunk) whilst screaming “I want my lunch!” like a tyrannical toddler, so Peter and two other men subdue him and lock him in a room where he tediously walks around in circles while practically foaming at the mouth like a rabid animal. After some time has passed, Peter, a care worker named Barry Giller (Sean Chapman), and the assessment center superintendent (Geoffrey Hutchings) come into the room and the latter explains to Trevor how he is being given a “second chance,” but he also lets the skinhead know that his future will probably be one big vicious circle revolving around thieving, prison, and the dole. After the Superintendent concludes his self-righteous spiel and leaves, Trevor gets in an argument with Barry and mocks his liberal mainstream mentality, stating, “I’m more British than you, fuck face! You hate the blacks as much as I do, only you don’t admit it. You hate the blacks more than I do, ‘cause they frighten you. That’s why you lock them up. You lock up anything that frightens you.”  Barry concludes regarding Trevor that “he’s a sod. He’s psychotic” and recommends to Peter that he be transferred to a “secure unit” so that someone else can deal with him. In an attempt to “keep the peace” with Trevor, Peter reluctantly agrees to allow him to drive in a banger racing event, but he also makes the following threat, “If you let me down, I’ll kill you. With help, that is. I’ll get the chef and some of the biggest lads I can find. And Wankers United will bring you down here and, together, collectively, we’ll duff you up.” 



 Needless to say, Trevor is not in the least bit happy when the engine of his car conks out after crashing into another car during the banger racing event and even though Peter offers to help him join a racing team so that he won’t have to bother stealing cars anymore, the self-destructive skinhead makes no reply to his offer and instead decides to steal the hopelessly naive social worker’s keys. Upon getting back to the assessment center, Trevor wakes up Errol and brings him to the file room of the building which he opens with the stolen keys. While reading through Errol’s files, Trevor is delighted to learn that his colored comrade was busted for “racist remarks.” Trevor decides to make his own racist remark by calling Errol a “fuckin’ baboon” when he asks him if he can read and he replies “not very well, no.” To show their disgust with the intrusive system that keeps less than flattering tabs on them, Trevor ceremoniously pisses on his files while Errol defecates on his and the two subsequently steal the assessment center van and head to the city where they throw bricks through the windows of homes in a Paki neighborhood.  Of course, Trevor specifically targets the home of Mr. Shahnawaz who he blames for getting him sent to the assessment center. Rather humorously, nig-nog Errol yells things like “You Paki bastards!” and “black nigger bastards” while throwing rocks throw the windows, thus revealing that Trevor's influence has rubbed off on him. After getting done chucking rocks, Trevor decides to crash the stolen van into some squad cars in front of a police station and poor Errol is knocked unconscious in the process. Trevor flees the car and intentionally leaves his colored comrade behind, thus Errol is soon busted by a cop who hatefully states “you little black bastard” and takes him to jail. After admiring a middleclass mannequin family in a store window and attacking a car in a tunnel while yelling “wanker,” Trevor heads to his social worker pal Harry Parker’s apartment to turn himself in and ultimately burn his final bridge. 



 Naturally, Harry, who is about to go on vacation, is pissed when Trevor shows up at his door, so he calls him a “nerd” and immediately begins berating him.  While in Harry’s apartment, it is obvious that Trevor is jealous of Harry’s children and middleclass lifestyle, which the skinhead has intentionally invaded in a pathetic attempt to intimidate the social worker.  After Trevor arrogantly brags about all of the crimes he has committed over the past day or so, Harry tells him that he is an “asshole” whose “not worth a piss,” thus confirming that the antihero has finally burnt his last bridge and has lost the one person that actually seemed to care about him.  Ultimately, Trevor is sent to a real prison for the first time in his miserable life.  While in a holding cell, Trevor annoys the guards by incessantly pressing the buzzer in his cell room, so two guards eventually come in and the shorter of the two, a rather authoritarian fellow named A.C. Anson (Christopher Fulford), informs the skinhead, after he complains that he is juvenile, that he cannot be kept at an adult prison and that he is not going back to the assessment center but a borstal and when he gets out, he will be sent to real prison where he promises, “we can screw you, and we will. We got ya now.” When Anson threatens to fingerprint Trevor after he gets out of the borstal so that he can connect him to all the car thefts in the local area, the skinhead sarcastically replies, “sounds great!,” thus causing the now fully enraged prison guard to smack him on the kneecap with a baton. While looking discernibly broken and defeated for the first time in the film after taking a brutal blow to the knee, Anson mocks Trevor by remarking “You think you're fucking hard” and then proceeds to tell him that he needs to learn to respect authority and the law like everyone else in society. After Anson and his pal leave, Trevor regains his iconic deranged grin, as if to demonstrate that physical violence has only strengthened his criminality and his unwavering desire to wage war against society. 



 Despite being a small and scrawny pedomorphic weakling (he apparently was 21 at the time of shooting yet looks barely old enough to be a teenager), Tim Roth did a fairly believable job in Made in Britain portraying a self-destructively nihilistic skinhead of the totally toxic sort who, unlike many juvenile delinquents, quite consciously decides to make all the worst decisions in whatever situation he may happen to be in. Of course, Roth’s performance is just a testament to his acting talents, with the actor being the complete opposite of his character as reflected in his remark during the audio commentary track on the Blue Underground DVD release of the film regarding his own personal interactions with skinheads, “I unfortunately went to school with a few of those…and got beaten up by many skinheads during the punk time…horrendous, horrendous people.”  Apparently, Roth's communist father also cried after seeing his son in the film after it debuted on British television, as the sight of his beloved son portraying a violent neo-Nazi thug was just too much for the old philo-Semitic commie to take.  Ironically, after starring in Made in Britain, Roth had skinheads chasing him down the street for his autograph instead of kicking his ass like they apparently did when he was in high school.  In the Blue Underground audio commentary, Roth also explains how the film was apparently a hit with both left-wingers and right-wingers, though some in the latter group were naturally disappointed with how the film portrayed them.



 Despite director Alan Clarke’s obvious intention to not romanticize skinheads or their dead-end lifestyle, antihero Trevor is easily one of the most strangely likeable, if not most likeable, skinheads of cinema history, as a character who, despite his overall vulgar nature, is more tolerable and empathetic than most of the rest of the characters in the film, which certainly seems to reflect the director’s disgust with Britain's social and legal system. Indeed, while Edward Norton’s character in American History X (1998) seems too phony and contrived and Ryan Gosling’s character in The Believer (2001) is just too plain schizophrenically Jewish, Trevor of Made in Britain seems to completely embody the sort of troubled individual of reasonable intelligence and wit who makes the seemingly insane decision to have a swastika tattooed to his forehead. Of course, aside from a murdered wog here and a burned down Paki-owned restaurant there, the skinheads ultimately proved to be not much of a threat to Britain in the long run, especially when compared to the trouble that Pakis and various other sorts of brown-skinned Muslims have brought to their adopted nation, which includes everything from brutal terrorist attacks involving the decapitation of white British soldiers to white sex slavery rings comprised of barely-teenage British girls, not to mention the total ghettoization of all major British cities, especially London, which now has a non-white majority population. Of course, Alan Clarke probably would have never directed a film about white sex slavery or the new color of urban decay as it would have been a conflict of interests for him, but it would certainly be interesting to see a filmmaker direct such works in the gritty in-your-face Clarkeian style just as Gus Van Sant somewhat did with his 2003 Columbine High School Massacre Elephant (which borrowed its name from the 1989 Clarke short of the same name). Apparently, Made in Britain screenwriter David Leland wrote a screenplay for a sequel about Trevor as a middle-aged man, but no one was interested in producing the film and, of course, Clarke died a very long time ago.  Call me crazy, but I would not be surprised if Trevor ended up turning into a dope dealer with mulatto kids as spawned from a relationship he had with a Jamaican hooker.  After all, the skinheads of yesteryear are the chavs and wiggers of today, with the antihero of Made in Britain growing up at a time before Britain had been completely ‘culturally enriched’ by the members of its ex-colonies.



-Ty E

12 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Gus Van Sant is a faggot and he must be destroyed, the bloody dirty pansy queer bastard.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, Thanks for 'cheering me up' on New Years Eve with this incredibly depressing reveiw of more unwatchable and laughable British made horse-shit, i really appreciate it ! ! !, you bloody rotten sod.

eddie lydecker said...

"Errol shit on eez", that line made me fall about laughing the first time i heard it.

eddie lydecker said...

"You fuckin` Babboon", that was a funny line as well, i have to admit.

eddie lydecker said...

I liked that bit where the bird in the background said she wondered who she had to suck off to get that cushy number as she was looking at the board, to this day i still have fantasys about being gobbled by that slag and spunking down the birds throat.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Apparently in England they pronounce "skinhead" as "skin-ed", those twat-ney wankers are worried that if somebody hears them pronounce the "h" they`ll think they`re a woofter.

Paul said...

Clarke hated in when the most popular scene in SCUM proved to be the bit where the main white character bashes the shit out of his black borstal counterpart. Odd, considering he reportedly encouraged racial tensions in SCUM's ' murderball' scene in order to get some good violent inter-racial action.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Of course the contra-twat-tion with regards to skin-eds is that although they act supposedly tough and vicious, in reality quite a high percentage of them are fairys, the bloody disgusting pansy queer filth scum-of-the-earth garbage, kill em` all.

Jennifer Croissant said...

I liked that bit in "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle" where that geezer was doin` an imper-daughter-ation of Sid Vicious's voice (for the cartoon sequence), it was so hilarious.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I will admit that one good thing that this film does achieve is how it proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that EVERYONE in England is garbage.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

The BBC and ITV are both total and utter shit. By the way, its appalling that "The Wo-girl in Black 2" is getting a wide release in North America from Friday, it`ll be stinking up 2600 screens, its totally unacceptable that British made crap like that is going to be polluting and besmirching American multi-plexes with its odious presence. NUKE THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY, NOW, WITH A 50 MEGATON DEVICE ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I wonder what the first reveiw of the new year will be ?, i hope it isn`t British or faggot oriented.