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BFI 100: 98 – Small Faces (1996)

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Here we continue the ill-fated and resurrected journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1, we move on to number 98, Small Faces. I’ll try to keep these short updates relatively spoiler free and consider them only a small record of moving through this series.

© BBC Films

Thankfully, Carry On Up the Khyber was only a blip, as the next film in the list was extraordinary: Gillies MacKinnon’s 1996 film set in Glasgow, Small Faces. It’s an occasionally bleak, often funny, at times brutal, and beautifully shot look at coming of age in the working class gang culture of the late 60s.

Garry Sweeney, who many will know as the king ned with the devil dug from Still Game is particularly good as Charlie. Laura Fraser – probably best known sporting an American accent as Lydia in Breaking Bad – as Joanne is also excellent but it is Iain Robertson, in his first acting role, who – as Lex McLean, the 13 year old that the film centres around – is almost perfect. When I first wrote this review a few years ago now, I was ashamed to say that is the first time I had watched the film, despite it being almost 20 years old at the time it became close to the top of my list of favourite Scottish movies. “Glen, ya bass!”


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