|Tanya, Artiom and Alfie.|
Following last weeks Love Film disaster Amer (2009) this weeks was back on track. Following his debut film for Shane Meadows Room for Romeo Brass (1999) Paddy Considine appeared in Last Resort (2000), which proved to be the first of two films for Polish born director Pawel Pawlikowski, the second was My Summer of Love (2004) which explored the relationship between two young women from different classes and backgrounds Considine played working class Mona’s (Natalie Press) brother who became a born again Christian while serving a prison term. The film also starred Emily Blunt as the upper middle class Tamsin and went on to win the Alexandra Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTA’s.
In Last Resort twenty something Tanya (Dina Korzun) arrives from Moscow with her 10 year-old son Artiom (Artiom Strelnikov) expecting to be met by her English fiancé to start a new life. When he does not turn up they claim political asylum and are confined to a holding area called Stonehaven, a bleak seaside resort, while the authorities consider their fate. Meanwhile Artyom strikes up a friendship with the manager of a local amusement arcade Alfie (Considine) who also gets cheap cigarettes and phone cards for the immigrants. Tanya, attempting to raise money to escape to confines of Stonehaven, gets a job making titillating movies for a local porn king played be the real life pornographer known as Ben Dover. She soon realises that this employment is not for her. To make matters even more complicated a loving relationship gradually develops between Tanya and Alfie.
Pawlikowski film is much more than a sad love story that’s destined to go nowhere. It deals with the thorny issue of asylum in Britain from the migrants prospective. The rather unwelcome look of a midwinter seaside resort, the grey sky and the grey cold looking sea emphasise the hopelessness of the migrant’s situation. Filmed in Margate in the winter months the movie was not originally intended for a theatrical release and was shown on TV but did get a limited run in a small amount of art-house cinemas. All three main leads greatly enhance the enjoyment of the story by making their characters totally believable. Another British movie I would highly recommend for those that enjoy uncompromising realism.