FILM / On Cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you ever wondered what the phrase 'idiot energy' meant, then a visit to Shopping is called for.

This isn't meant to be a put-down (well, maybe just a little): energy, after all, is the vital ingredient missing from so much contemporary British cinema. Paul Anderson's directorial debut has things to say about anarchy in the UK and it flaunts a cinematic crackle almost wholly absent from more self-regarding State of the Nation fare (London Kills Me, The Secret Rapture) - the sort of insular lit-Brit movies that Anderson and multiplex-generation chums Vadim Jean (Beyond Bedlam) and Danny Cannon (Young Americans, the forthcoming Judge Dredd) obviously want to break with.

Shopping looks good, moves fast and holds the attention. Unfortunately, that's all it does. In that respect, it's not so different from Cannon's Young Americans, an empty homage to the US action genre that has the sort of mindless thrust Elvis would have envied - and absolutely nothing else. The screen explodes, cars career, characters die and you don't turn a hair: empathy would not only be sentimental, it would also be superfluous. Which may seem the ultimate, if inadvertent, tribute to American cinema, but it actually speaks volumes about the essential Britishness of the enterprise, despite its strivings to renounce the emotional arctic that is native arthouse product.

In a way, Shopping's ram-raiding metaphor boomerangs back on itself. After a while it appears less about assaulting the capitalist system for gain and more about the New Wave of British film makers trying to smash and grab their way to feeling. Which is both embarrassing and promising.

(Photograph omitted)