As Father’s Day approaches in the U.S., this RANet screen cap below of Urban looking through a tunnel/culvert at Chop from the recently released “Urban and the Shed Crew” (UATSC) teaser trailer, really speaks to me. For me, it is evocative of the central theme of UATSC, which is about hope and second chances.
In viewing the image above, I also think of the circumstances beyond his control that this young boy Urban (portrayed by Fraser Kelly) has to overcome to survive–physically and emotionally. It really wrenches my heart that children are so vulnerable in this and in many socieites. I think of the disillusioned social worker Chop (portrayed by Richard Armitage), also struggling to find his place in the world–his meaning, his purpose, his sense of self and self worth as he attempts to pull himself out of a drug laden haze. These two unlikely individuals meet and forge a bond (image below) that eventually leads to Chop (below right) adopting Urban (below left) as his son.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is true. Author Bernard Hare wrote an unflinching book (right) about his work with young disaffected girls and boys–and about the one boy who affected him the most, Urban Grimshaw. The Guardian (June 26, 2005) published an incisive review of the Hare book (excerpted below):
“Bernard Hare mixes compelling reportage with deeply personal memoir in Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew, says Toby Lichtig.”… “Hare’s prose is punchy, his anecdotes entertaining, from brawls on bouncy castles to the chess-playing Yardie dealers who insist on choosing the disadvantaged black pieces every time. ‘Beating white, despite the odds, was part of the game as far as they were concerned.’ But Urban Grimshaw is most memorable for its tenderness: the moments when the kids briefly become kids again, discovering the alphabet, playing Monopoly, or Urban’s sheer boyish joy when Hare takes him to the countryside.”
I cannot wait to see this film. It will be gritty, use foul language (that I abhor) and suggestive euphemisms, and portray individuals making bad choices time and again–but only because it is essential in serving plot and character development, and not doing it in a gratuitous way. No CGI or special effects are needed here, just the power of human emotions to move and to inspire us.
Because at its core, UATSC is also a hopeful story–that out of such desperate and despairing circumstances, people working together–individuals becoming a parent and child together– can give themselves a second chance for a better life. They say that to raise a child, it takes a village. Or in the case of the story in the film “Urban and the Shed Crew”, it takes someone who cares.
I can definitely see why Richard Armitage chose to participate in this film, portraying the role of Chop the social worker. With Mr. Armitage’s sponsored charitable causes at his Just Giving site tending to focus on helping children and families, Richard Armitage’s personal philanthropic credo–of giving aid to those in need to help them better their lives–very much aligns with the messages of hope in this film.
So Hollywood and film distributors, if you’re listening, this film story’s focus of improving society and the individual–one person at a time in “Urban and the Shed Crew”– is the kind of film that will get me and many others into the theatres to see it and buying its dvd. And if this film gets the proper distribution in the U.S., it could become the darling of critics and award shows IMHO.
And getting back to the UATSC film trailer image above that started my musings here–with Urban looking through this tunnel/culvert at Chop, Urban is contemplating a new future for himself with this man Chop as his guide to manhood. And from Chop’s perspective, he notices Urban staring at him through the tunnel/culvert and glimpses where his own new future is headed–as a role model and mentor who needs to clean up his act. The Urban and the Shed Crew producers Blenheim Films should really make this film image the movie poster. So the image below is my attempt at a fan made poster for “Urban and the Shed Crew”: