From December 2000
Film Review

Also reviewed: WONDER BOYS
• other November releases

Film Review Hotline
5 Stars; Excellent

Director Mark Herman talks about making PURELY BELTER in this issue

Chris Beattie and Greg McLane: is it on the trolley?

STARS: Chris Beattie, Greg McLane,
Tim Healy, Kevin Whately, Roy Hudd,
Charlie Hardwick, Alan Shearer

DIRECTOR: Mark Herman
Mark Herman
DISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright:
Film Four
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 37mins
OPENING DATE (UK): November 3

Ha’way purely belter movie, like.

Like ‘the full monty’, ‘purely belter’ is a term you’re going to have to get used to. It’s actually an expression used in the north of England meaning something so good that there’s isn’t a word for it. However, for best mates Gerry, 15, and Sewell, 17, there’s little belter going on in their lives at present, let alone anything approaching purely belter.

Gerry, who makes up in street cred what he lacks in stature, is still at school and hates it. Sewell, who makes up in size what he lacks in grey matter, is unemployed and living with his granddad (Hudd). However, coming from underprivileged backgrounds in Newcastle, neither are against breaking the rules, Gerry arguing that, “if you can’t be a part of it, you might as well take a part of it.”

What they really want is a part of is their favourite football team – Newcastle United. But the tickets are way out of their price range. So, one grey day atop a tower block, they decide to make a difference in their lives, give up the fags, booze and glue and actually save up some dosh. Of course, coming up with £500 each for a season ticket is harder work than either envisaged.

And so the lads embark on a series of get-rich quick enterprises that more often than not back-fire. There’s the babysitting (OK, so it was a mistake to take the crawler to a nightclub), the shoplifting (with Sewell acting as a decoy, disguised as a blind man) and, er, the burglary (don’t ask).

With their authentic patois and genuine complexions, Chris Beattie and Greg McLane make a thoroughly believable and endearing double act and are every bit as good as that other Northern newcomer, Jamie Bell. Beattie, who at times resembles Leonardo DiCaprio when he was the same age, is a particular discovery, being totally believable, funny and touching all at the same time.

But it’s writer-director Mark Herman who we must really thank. Having shown a knack for directing actors in Brassed Off and Little Voice, he surpasses himself here, coaxing superb performances from across the board. While neither Purely Belter nor Billy Elliot took home any glittering prizes from Cannes (where they were both premièred), they are the two best contemporary British films of the year. And you belter believe it.

James Cameron-Wilson

Read our massive reviews section in this month's Film Review
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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Also reviewed online this month:
4 Stars; Recommended
WONDER BOYS • released November 3


5 Stars; Excellent
Chopper • Nov 24
Singing in the Rain • Nov TBC

4 Stars; Recommended
Into the Arms of Strangers • Nov 24
The Yards • Nov 10

4 Stars; Recommended
Nov 17 • Way of the Gun
Nov 17 • Chuck and Buck
Nov 10 • Pitch Black
Nov 3 • The Golden Bowl
Nov 17 • Judy Berlin
Nov 24 • East-West