Our cinema doesn't depend on lavish, feelgood reassurance; it revels in seedy grittiness. That's the way we like it. We're not a nation of optimists who're certain we'll be redeemed. We're glum and suspicious. We quite like misery and are more at home with grunge than glitz.Some interesting reader comments follow too, e.g. this:
19 Apr 2010, 11:32AM
It's interesting the feelgood romantic comedies that characteristed British cinema since the 1990s - Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually and the like - have disappeared. Even Richard Curtis's last film - The Boat That Rocked - was set in the 1960s Ditto Cemetery Junction takes place in 1973. For British filmmakers, we can feelgood about the past but not the present. Too many recent British movies - Fish Tank, Harry Brown, Eden Lake - present a thoroughly grim and despairing vision of the country. The odd exception was Mike Leigh's 'Happy Go Lucky'.
It's interesting that 'Four Weddings' opened in Britain in May 1994, on the very week John Smith died and Tony Blair emerged as the future leader of New Labour. There were a lot of parallels between Hugh Grant in that movie and Blair. Now, we have 'The Ghost' opening in the last days of the New Labour government - almost like a final nail being hammered in the coffin.
I often think that anyone who lived through the 1970s wouldn't want to return there. Films like 'Bloody Sunday', 'The Damned United', 'Control' and the 1974 segment of 'Red Riding' capture the grimness perfectly. Strikes, the Troubles in Ulster, football hooliganism, police corruption, drab provincial cities and raging inflation (just try going through newspapers of the period and you'll see how expensive everything was). It wasn't all bad, but on the whole I do prefer now.