BAFTA Scotland Awards Great Success

Robbie Coltrane, Peter Capaldi and Richard Wilson at BAFTA Scotland Awards. Photo Credit: Matt Dale

THE BRITISH Academy of Film and Television Arts Scotland Awards have come to a close for another year, with Robbie Coltrane picking up an accolade for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Donkeys and Neds both receiving two awards apiece.

Comedian Kevin Bridges presented the festivities which took place at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow, as guests enjoyed an evening celebrating the best of Scottish entertainment. Peter Mullan, who led the field with awards for Best Director and Best Writer for his gritty teenage drama Neds, seemed apprehensive as he arrived off the red carpet, telling The Student, “I’m a bit jaded, in the sense that I’ve been to too many (awards) and so don’t think you appreciate it as much.” However, he later retracted this statement following his win, where he emphasised his genuine surprise.

Upcoming Scottish actress Jayd Johnson impressed everyone as she came up to accept the award for Best Actor/Actress in Television, completely at a loss for words. As she told The Student afterwards, “I can’t believe I’ve just made a speech, I’ve no idea what I said but I’m really proud and honoured.”

With her co-actors Ford Kiernan and Peter Capaldi also being up for the award, she had nothing but praise for the other two, “Ford and Peter were so complimentary about me and I would have been nothing without them. I wouldn’t have won this if it wasn’t for them.”

James Cosmo was visibly moved at winning the award for Best Actor/Actress in Film, an honour that clearly meant a great deal to him. “I’m really, really chuffed; it’s a wonderful feeling. Making that movie (Donkeys) was a labour of love for everyone and I’m really privileged to be a part of it.”

Following a year’s absense of the event, Jude MacLaverty, Director of BAFTA Scotland said, “We’re thrilled to see the British Academy Scotland Awards return for such a fantastic night.” The evening was seen as a huge success, its revision from the Awards review evidently doing it justice. It also emphasised the importance for members of the Scottish creative industry to have their own national awards, as Robbie Coltrane told The Student, “I think that we acknowledge the talent we have here. There’s only 4 million of us, there’es three times that amount living in Manchester. Without sounding too smug, I think we do quite well.”

Taken from The Student, published Tue Nov 15th 2011.

Tyrannosaur Review

4/5

Film is used as a medium to affect and entertain people in a multitude of ways. Away from the idealism of Hollywood, Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur illustrates a gritty realism that captures the shocking reality of a fractured society.

Set in a rough, working-class area of Leeds, Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a monster of a man. Fuelled by violence as though it is an addiction, he is unable to restrain himself in situations when his temper gets the better of him. A convoluted mix of past regrets and lost dreams, he spends his life between the pub and the bookies, tormenting people along the way.

His life becomes intertwined with charity worker Hannah (Olivia Colman), whom he belittles for her cushy middle-class life and religious self-affirmation without knowing the truth of her situation. As it becomes clear that she is trapped in a relationship with an abusive husband (Eddie Marsan), an unconventional friendship forms between the two.

Tyrannosaur is a far cry from feel-good cinema. It takes a brutal look at a reality unseen by most of society. Mullan’s performance is terrific in the way he captures a man devoid of hope or purpose, who resorts to violence as a means of escapism, even though it ultimately adds little consolation. There is no disputing his chilling claim: “I’m not a nice human being.” Yet, what this film manages to do is create an empathy that shouldn’t be there. Glimpses of a softer side allow the viewer to believe that there is a nice man behind the mask; his clear affection for Hannah being evidence of this.

However, it is Colman’s performance that steals the show. Her combination of denial set against an inherent self-loathing in the face of her affliction, is incredibly powerful. As she turns to Joseph with no one else to help her: bruised, beaten and emotionally defeated, the result is undeniably moving.

Whilst Tyrannosaur is definitely not for the faint of heart, it is undoubtedly one of the most efficacious films released so far this year; you would be hard pressed to find a film more disturbing yet equally absorbing.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Oct 11th 2011.

Neds Review

4/5

In his first directorial role since The Magadalene Sisters which came out 8 years ago, Peter Mullan delivers a hard-hitting drama which makes a poignant cry to the working-class gang culture within Glasgow during the 1970s.

Neds follows the hugely gifted John Mcgill (played by Conor McCarron) exceeding his peers at school and with aspirations of attending university. However, his transgression to secondary school meets him with uninspiring teachers who have given up on a youth where education is disregarded in favour of gang violence and drinking.

As McGill approaches adolescence, he is left with the tenuous decision as to how he will shape his future. Unaided by a lack of encouragement, his brilliance is hindered by his fate as a poor working-class boy from a broken family which consists of an abusive alcoholic father (excellently portrayed by Mullan), a submissive mother (Louise Goodall) and a brother (Joe Szula) who is always in scraps with the law.

This coming of age story is illustrious in its capturing of the stress of social pressure within class. This is made evident in his dismissal by the mother of his middle-class friend Julian (Martin Bell) who he is told no longer to mix with.

McCarron, despite his somewhat thuggish and dim-witted appearance creates an endearing character whose often confused and sensitive looks gives the impression that he no longer knows what he is doing, straying away from the person he really is by creating a persona that is alien to his nature.

Perhaps one of the reasons why the film appears so powerful is Mullan’s use of many non-professional actors found on some of the estates where filming took place which adds a definite authenticity to the film.

Despite being predominately excellent, the film does, however, fall on some minor points. The closing third of the film seems to wane as the viewer is left to wonder where the plot is being led and the film seems to have more than a passing resemblance to Shane Meadows’ This is England although delivered in a more ingenuous and grittier fashion.

However, it is undeniable that Mullan has created a film that is brutally honest in its portrayal of a gang culture that is still prevalent today in a film that is both shocking and yet incredibly sad, allowing him a firm place amongst some of the finest British filmmakers.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Jan 25th 2011.