Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Selfish Giant DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
One of the most acclaimed films of 2013, The Selfish Giant is the moving story of 13-year-old best friends for whom the joys of boyhood are almost nonexistent. Diminutive, hyperactive Arbor (Conner Chapman) and shy, ungainly Swifty (Shaun Thomas) stick together to battle bullies at school and poverty at home. One fateful night, the boys witness men trying to steal power cables - and manage to make off with the valuable wires themselves. They sell them to a shady scrap dealer, Kitten (Sean Gilder, Shameless), beginning a steady criminal arrangement. But when the vindictive Kitten learns that Arbor has stolen from him, he orders the boys to undertake a dangerous mission, leading to a shattering climax.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Arbor and Swifty are best friends who protect each other from bullies at school and bullies at home. One night, the boys see some men stealing some copper wire and end up stealing it out from under them. They boys take it to Kitten, the local scrap dealer, who pays them for it and sends them on their way. The boys realize this is a way to help their families earn money and keep away the bill collectors. 

After the boys are suspended from school for fighting, they decide to spend their time working for Kitten. Kitten hires them to collect any sort of scrap metal they can find and the boys go around town with one of Kitten’s horses and a cart. Swifty bonds with the horse and Kitten allows him to begin working with the horse, training him for harness racing.

Arbor becomes jealous of Swifty and Kitten’s understanding and steals some scrap metal from Kitten. When Kitten finds out, he sends Arbor and Swifty to steal some high-voltage power lines. When tragedy strikes because of this assignment, Kitten takes the blame and is arrested.

It took me some time to really get into the film. As it went on, it started growing on me and it became a beautiful story of a friendship between two boys who needed each other. The boys who played Arbor and Swifty were both very good and their interaction with each other was very natural. The only downside to the film is that the accents are so heavy, for much of the film; it was difficult to understand what was being said. Especially when the boys were yelling at each other. 
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen 1.85:1 presentation of The Selfish Giant was good. The picture was clear and I had no problems seeing anything on the screen. Colors were muted well to compensate for gloomy weather and night and evening scenes blended well together. It was a lovely film to watch and it went along with the story well.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The Selfish Giant is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 with subtitles in English SDH and Spanish. The sound was clear, though as I indicated above, the accent were so heavy, I couldn’t understand what was being said. The volume, however, was good. I could hear everything being said and when characters yelled at each other, the volume wasn’t raised too much.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The extras were interesting, but there weren’t many. I always hope for more, am disappointed when there aren’t many, but surprisingly pleased when the extras are interesting.
  • Interviews – It was interesting hearing thoughts of the director, producer, and some of the cast members. I liked hearing how they got involved with the film, how they felt on set and with their castmates, and what they thought of each other.
    • Clio Barnard (Director)
    • Tracy O’Riordan (Producer)
    • Conner Chapman (Arbor) and Shaun Thomas (Swifty)
    • Sean Gilder (Kitten)
    • Siobhan Finneran (Mrs. Swift)
    • Steve Evets (Price Drop)
  • Behind the Scenes – There are three looks behind the scenes on The Selfish Giant. All were interesting. Seeing the crew members in the scenes to film and then not in the finished product is always interesting to me.
  • Scrap Yard
  • Arbor Visits Swifty’s House
  • Road Racing
  • Trailer – The trailer for the film. I really enjoyed watching it. It really shows the boys’ friendship and makes you want to see the film.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
The Selfish Giant was a beautiful film. The story of the friendship between Arbor and Swifty was so sweet. The boys looked out for each other and took care of each other. When tragedy strikes, your heart breaks right along with the characters. The last 10 minutes are particularly lovely, as you see how they all deal with what’s happened. The Selfish Giant is a film I will watch again, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys independent films.

Order your copy today!

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