Treacle Jr (R15)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/07/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Engaging British drama that's both darkly funny and ultimately moving, thanks to impressive improv-style direction from Jamie Thraves and terrific performances from the two leads.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jamie Thraves, Treacle Jr. stars Tom Fisher as Tom, a Birmingham man who suddenly walks out on his wife and child and becomes a drop-out on the streets of London. After an encounter with some thugs, Tom winds up in A&E, where he meets loud-lisping, relentlessly optimistic Irishman Aidan (Aidan Gillen), who takes an immediate shine to him.

Try as he might, Tom finds it impossible to shake Aidan off and he soon ends up sleeping at Aidan's flat, much to the displeasure of Aidan's violent “girlfriend” Linda (Riann Steele). As Tom gradually softens towards Aidan, he attempts to help him achieve his goal of buying a drum kit, which he hopes to achieve by hiring out a cat (called Treacle) to local cafes as a mouse-chaser.

The Good
Gillen is terrific as Aidan, playing the sort of character that's instantly recognisable as the sort of nutter you'd cross the street to avoid, but revealing a warmth and a kindness that grows on us as much as it grows on Tom. Fisher is equally good as the softly spoken Tom and the relationship that slowly evolves between the two men is extremely touching.

There's also strong support from Riann Steele (actually rather terrifying as the volatile Linda), not to mention a delightful animal performance from the world's cutest kitten as “Treacle Jr.” - if you can sit through the montage of Tom, Aidan and Treacle Jr. in the pub without grinning from ear-to-ear then you are officially dead inside.

The Great
Thraves (who funded the film himself through re-mortgaging and family donations) employs a semi-improvisational approach throughout that works well and gives the film a rough-edged, unpredictable quality. It's also extremely funny in places, with some hilarious off-the-wall lines.

In addition, the piece is impressively shot by co-cinematographers Catherine Derry and Nigel Kinnings, who make strong use of their authentic London locations, particularly the various parks.

Worth seeing?
In short, Treacle Jr is an engaging, frequently funny and ultimately moving British drama thanks to impressive direction from Jamie Thraves and terrific performances from Aidan Gillen and Tom Fisher. Recommended.

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Content updated: 19/10/2019 16:30

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