Film: If 15 rating Year: 1968
If DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Drama
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Arthur Lowe

Please check out our Lindsay Anderson director guide, plus our reviews of O Lucky Man and This Sporting Life. All Lindsay Anderson's films are available in our Lindsay Anderson UK Store & Lindsay Anderson USA Store.

If Synopsis - if...... centers around an English public school, and in particular a pupil - Mick Travis. The confinement and harshness of the school environment lead Mick and his friends to rebel and begin to start breaking the school rules. When the petty school rule breaking is punished by harsh beatings Mick and other students plan a bloody and violent uprising to take control of the school.

Review of If - The plot to if... is relatively straight forward and easy to get into, but what lifts this film above its contemporaries is the direction by Lindsay Anderson, and in particular the rather avant approach he chose to use when shooting the film. The story blurs between fantasy and reality, and the film switches between colour, black and white and sepia to compound the effect of the different worlds (which is just as well as they ran out of money to continue filming in colour). It is easy to see why Kubrick chose Malcolm McDowell for the part of Alex in Clockwork Orange, as the portrayal of Mick in this film seems to be drawn from similar palettes as Alex all be it inside very different worlds. Anderson's swipe at both the private school system and society at large, is both witty, sharp, incisive, fascinating and powerful (particularly resonant is the fact it was filmed at Cheltenham College - Anderson's old school). Anderson would continue the themes here and the story of Mick Travis (and Britain) with his later films O Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital.

"if..." has been be released on DVD (May 2007). The follow up film in this lose trilogy O Lucky Man! is now available on DVD (Oct 2007). The third part - Britannia Hospital, is also available on DVD and is well worth getting.

The reasons I recommend If are: 1. A superb story in which very harrowing subjects are tackled with skill and honesty. 2. A superbly defiant and arrogant performance by Malcolm McDowell. .