Film: Scum 18 rating Year: 1979
Scum DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Drama
Director: Alan Clarke
Starring: Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels, Mick Ford, Alan Igbon, Bill Dean

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Scum Synopsis - Scum is set in a Borstal and revolves around one of the inmates Carlin. Carlin has been moved to this Borstal following a fight with a prison officer in his previous borstal (which Carlin explains was self defence). The prison officers are keen to gain revenge on behalf of their fellow officer, and also to show Carlin (and the rest of the inmates) that they are the bosses (and he is beaten up and put into a holding cell). Carlin is keen to do his time quietly and not to get in any further trouble, so that he can gain parole. However, the prison officers and the other inmates who run his wing are not going to make this easy. So Carlin has to bite his lip whilst the brutality of the system and, in particular the prison officers and the inmate bully who run the wing, systematically takes its toll. Can Carlin keep his nose clean or will the system force him to react?

Review of Scum - Scum is the "daddy" of drama films. This theatrical version is practically an identical remake of the TV film that was made by Alan Clarke two years previously for the BBC. The BBC banned the original TV version claiming that it was unrepresentative of the system as whole (though one assumes this decision was more a political decision and therefore shed even further doubts on the independence of the BBC). Having seen the original (now available on the same DVD as the theatrical version) I think the TV version is the slightly superior production. But both versions are testament to Alan Clarke's skill at getting realistic drama documentary performances out of young actors (which he again achieved in Made In Britain). Also the films shooting style of being in the middle of the action ( developed in his later films with his use of the steadicam) also gives you that heightened reality of the drama documentary style. Its also testament to the skill of the writing that the brutality of the system is so incisively portrayed in the medium of a feature film.
The reasons I recommend Scum are: 1. A truly powerful and thought provoking film. 2. The performances of all the actors involved are top notch . 3. The film is a masterpiece of shooting in a drama documentary style.