Scraper Review

Scraper Review

Scraper Review

Audiences who don’t track films as closely as festival-goers and trade consumers are bound to find them confusing.

Let’s get that out of the way because comparisons will inevitably be drawn between British writer-director Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper, a competitor in the World Cinema section at Sundance, and fellow Brit Charlotte Wells’ feature debut Aftersun, which hit the festival circuit.

Both these mono-titled films, made by Charlotte, revolve around working-class teenage girls and their respective single parents who go crazy during summer vacation.

It’s important that you, dear reader, help clear up any confusion: Aftersun is an almost miraculous work of beauty, and Scrapper is a sweet little fluff trying too hard to be funny and offensive. Too much is just annoying.

That said, there are qualities to be enjoyed in Scrapper. At Heart is a string of winning performances from the recent everywhere-all-at-once Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness and Where the Crawdads Sing), an affinity for his rapscallion yet-absent father Jason, and total newcomer Lola Campbell.

Regan, who has directed music videos and several acclaimed shorts, clearly has a knack for young actors and elicits a relaxed, brief air of confidence from Campbell.

Brings natural comic timing to his turn as 12-year-old protagonist Georgie. Similarly, droll turns from the supporting ensemble, which includes Allin, are also involved.

Uzun as Georgie’s best friend Ali, Freya Bell as her maid Layla, and a chorus of bit players (including the identical triple Ayokunal). Oyesanwo, Ayobami Oyesanwo, and Ayuluwa Oyesanwo ) who comment on the story.

The highly saturated colors of Muntoni’s production design, Oliver Cronk’s costumes, and Molly Manning Walker’s cinematography create a contemporary, quasi-magical world out of a dilapidated housing estate on the outskirts of East London, much like the Paddington franchise but of less posh folk.

That quirky quality, beloved by British filmmakers nowadays, is fun, but you only get so far. Regan’s underdeveloped script lets down the film, which can’t quite manage the tonal shift between sorrow and comedy hijinks.

The basic conceit here is that Georgie’s beloved mother (Olivia Brady, seen in flashbacks) has recently died of an unspecified illness. Somehow, no one from the adult world has worked out that this means Georgie is living entirely on her own, especially since she’s somehow managed to trick curious social workers into thinking she’s an imaginary uncle being brainwashed.

To survive, he and Ali start stealing bicycles around the neighborhood, which they sell to a local, Jeff ( Ambreen). Razia ), for cash.

One day, Jason climbs over the backyard fence and announces that he is Georgie’s long-lost father and is moving in to take care of her.

Having not seen him since she was a child, Georgie is not sure whether she should believe him, let alone him, but he manages to win Ali over.

He goes to work trying to charm Georgie, partly by buying her stuff and behaving like a big kid himself.

 For example, he tricks her into role-playing with him as they create gruff-voiced dialogue for a well-to-do couple they can see across the platform at the train station.

Instead of being horrified by her bicycle theft, Jason helps her, pointing out the need to switch off the serial numbers.

Well, Regan intends this criminal caper to be read as charming in some way, and the fact that Dickinson and Campbell pull off such a great double act makes us suck up all this flim-flam at a straw.

What’s hard to swallow is that Georgie, Ali, and, by extension, we, the audience, must be reeling from the fact that he’s been a rotten, totally absent father so far.

Heck, Georgie’s mother is even a little more guilty because she didn’t make any arrangements to secure support for her child, even though she knew she would die very soon.

But emotional logic is not prioritized in a film that is more invested in visually interesting moments, for example, father and daughter dancing together in an abandoned building while backlighting through empty windows, and the beautiful pop music fades away.


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