Clio Barnard, 2013

Artificial Eye

'The Selfish Giant' DVD cover

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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