Alan Clarke is a name synonymous with grit, violence and social realism; he told the truth about life in Britain, even if the more conservative and commercial audiences at the time didn’t want to hear it. And at long last, an extended collection of work for the BBC created by Clarke has been released in a compelling 13 disc-set. Starburst takes a look at the collection…
Dissent & Disruption brings together 24 of Clarke’s films from the BBC, including the following famous titles: Scum (1977), a harsh look at the brutal borstal system as seen through the eyes of a young Ray Winstone, Baal (1982), an adaptation of a Bertolt Brecht play featuring David Bowie as a musician expressing his angst, and The Firm (1989), a cruel look at football hooliganism, inspired by the Inter City Firm of the 1970s and 80s, with Gary Oldman in a menacing lead role.
What is stark about Clarke’s work is that it is still (even by today’s standards) incredibly graphic in the way it portrays violence. The point of Clarke’s work is not to either sugar-coat the matters he is trying to portray, nor is it to look for a way to try and shock the audience, instead, Clark uses these graphic moments to add substance to the points he is trying to make, as opposed to a superficial sock. What is also just as stark is the way that actors are immersed in their respective parts; Scum in particular gives Ray Winstone his best opportunity to show his capabilities as an actor, before he was lost in the “ diamond geezer” roles that he is known for today, meanwhile with Gary Oldman, you see the beginnings of the numerous villains that he has portrayed on screen since as an actor.
These wonderful performances, coupled together with discs of director’s cuts, interviews and other rarities, offer a very gritty, very enjoyable viewing experience.
DISSENT & DISRUPTION: ALAN CLARKE AT THE BBC /
CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ALAN CLARKE / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRIN: GARY OLDMAN,
DAVID BOWIE, RAY WINSTONE, PHIL DAVIS, JANE HORROCKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW