Brassed Off

Brassed Off (Mark Herman, 1996) Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald

I wrote an article about this for Screen Education. As I sold the copyright to ATOM, I cannot republish the whole article here, but I'll show the first and last paragraphs.

Despite what you may have heard, Brassed Off (Mark Herman, 1996) is not a feel-good comedy: it's a war film; a film about class warfare. To an allegedly egalitarian Australian audience, this may not be immediately obvious; but as the world moves inexorably towards a greater divide between rich and poor, it is worth considering this aspect of the movie. ...

The film-makers want to achieve the most desirable balance between a social realist film (which I have been characterising as [class] 'war film') and a comedy with romantic elements.  But whereas The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997), for example, puts more weight on the comedic end of the balance, it seems to me that the tragic power of the portrayal of events in the lives of Phil and his father Danny is what remains in the memory of a viewing of Herman's film. Despite the ambiguously 'happy' ending, the image that lingers is the one of Phil's face with his tears running through his clown makeup as he contemplates everything that he has lost.

reviews | Garry Gillard | New: 28 February, 2017 | Now: 9 April, 2020