review

the violators

Director: Helen Walsh

Starring: Lauren McQueen, Brogan Ellis & Stephen Lord

Released: 25th July 2016

Taking her cues from Andrea Arnold and early Shane Meadows, novelist-turned-filmmaker Helen Walsh sets out to deliver lo-fi British social realism spliced with a coming-of-age drama. Events unfold on a rundown housing estate (in Brit movies, are there any other kind?) in Cheshire, where Walsh documents the travails of 16 year-old Shelly (Lauren McQueen), who is revealed to be smart in some ways, naive in others.

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With an abusive father in jail and an absent mother, Shelly is essentially responsible for the welfare of her two brothers. However, Shelly finds herself offered support from a number of sources: a manipulative pawnshop owner Mikey (Stephen Lord) and also another girl from the posh end of town called Rachel (Brogan Ellis), whose interests in Shelly remain opaque. Into this sort-of triangle comes news that Shelly’s father is to be released from prison. A third act stretches credulity, but the atmosphere and performances are convincingly delivered.

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