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Violators, The


Stars: Lauren McQueen, Brogan Ellis, Derek Barr, Liam Ainsworth, Stephen Lord, Callum King Chadwick

Director: Helen Walsh

If the title leads you to expect an exploitative action pic, better think again. This is a thoughtful blue-collar British drama set in a ghetto area of Birkenhead, where Shelley (McQueen) and her brothers (from different mums) Andy (Barr) and Kieran (Ainsworth) live in fear of their abusive father returning from jail.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old Shelley and 12-year-old Kieran bunk off from school, during which time she steals from cars, slot machines or anything else, taking her ill-gotten gains to the local pawnbroker, whose boss, Mikey (Lord), has his eye on the streetwise but vulnerable Shelley, as does a mechanically-handy teenage neighbour (Chadwick).

Shelley also becomes involved with the well-to-do Rachel (Ellis), who seems to be looking for a lesbian relationship.

This, as you'll gather, is a largely depressing piece whose melodramatic ending hardly sits well with the subject. McQueen is perfectly competent, but too pretty for her role and incongruously almost always perfectly made up.

The film is also quite slow, and its regional accents frequently difficult to decipher. In other words, it's yet another BFI-backed film hardly likely to makes its way to your local multiplexes.

The director's fascination with her leading character's bottom is also a bit odd. It's a nice bottom, but, like the film, which trudges on too long, there is rather a lot of it.

If you do happen to catch the movie, watch for the scene where Shelley plonks all her change on the counter for a meal and, on being told it's not enough, leaves it there and stomps off. A likely story.

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Bulldog Films. Colour (unspecified).
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 14 Jun 2016