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Clio Barnard, 2013

Artificial Eye

Hillsides peppered with pylons, sheep grazing in the shadow of power plants, boys in grubby tracksuits chugging energy drinks for breakfast – Clio Barnard’s second feature paints a sickly picture of the scarred post-industrial North.

It follows two lads – one a skinny maelstrom of juvenile rage, the other slower and tubbier with a soft spot for horses – and their risky foraging for scrap metal.

It is sensitively directed, rivetingly acted and beautifully shot in a cold anaemic light, but with so many conventions of social realist cinema present and correct, there is the inescapable sense of having been here countless times before.

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