starring Pete Postlethwaite
written and directed by Mark Herman
Pete Postlethwaite is a good British character actor with a very unique face who reached his greatest fame in the Daniel Day Lewis film In the Name of the Father. He also appeared as the great white hunter trying to bag a male tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park 2. More recently he was Friar Lawrence in the remake of Romeo and Juliet staring Leonardo DiCaprio. I imagine he looks somewhat like the British Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart who became famous to American audiences as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the U.S.television show Star Trek: The Next Generation. Pete Postlethwaite looks like how Patrick Stewart might look when he is much older. He could be a relative.
Brassed Off is similar to two other recent British movies for different reasons. First, it is similar to The Full Monty in that it deals with the plight of unemployed Britons. Second, it is similar to Trainspottingin the dismal, grey, dark, sad, dead-end kinds of lives it portrays. I have to ask myself, is this what British life is reallylike? It makes want to avoid the place like the plague.
Brassed Off, set in an appropriately grimly-named place called Grimly, in Yorkshire, features workers from a colliery, or coal it mine. These are folk facing unemployment as the Thatcher government of the 1980s tries to revolutionize the British economy, cut redundancy and exterminate unproductive industries. It was an infamous time in Britain that saw hundreds of thousands of coal miners lose their livelihood and their industry, and for which Lady Thatcher remains much-hated by many. I remember all this.
Faced with grim prospects, the members of the colliery brass band keep tier spirits up and give the rest of Britain a lesson in the strength of the human spirit by persevering to the national finals (which they win) of the brass band competition.
It seems like an odd kind of hobby for rough coal miners but as you listen to the music you can’t help but come to some kind of agreement that the music really is the important thing. The band members experience the ecstasy of an Albert Hall triumph, but in the end they still must return to a life of unemployment, living on the dole.
Fine acting, but a very British film. Be prepared if you want to see it.