×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Goodbye Charlie Bright

Arites-of-passage story set around a rough South London housing estate, "Goodbye Charlie Bright" centers on two adolescent boys whose friendship slowly dissolves as they realize that one is headed nowhere while the other is too smart for his environment and must eventually break free.

With:
Charlie - Paul Nicholls Justin - Roland Manookian Eddie - Phil Daniels Tony Immaculate - Jamie Foreman Francis - Danny Dyer Blondie - Dani Behr Hector - Richard Driscoll Charlie's dad - David Thewlis Damien - Alexis Rodney Tommy - Sid Mitchell Tommy's dad - Frank Harper

Arites-of-passage story set around a rough South London housing estate, “Goodbye Charlie Bright” centers on two adolescent boys whose friendship slowly dissolves as they realize that one is headed nowhere while the other is too smart for his environment and must eventually break free. While it starts unpromisingly and charts familiar territory, the film improves as it goes, distinguished by fine performances from magnetic lead Paul Nicholls and his plucky co-star Roland Manookian, both of whom register as young talents to watch. Likely to have a modest theatrical profile, this punchy youth drama should see brighter prospects down the ancillary line.

Story covers a bunch of friends who have grown up together, opening with the lads streaking naked through the estate as a lark during an uncharacteristically hot London summer. The core of this clan is Charlie (Nicholls) and his inseparable chum Justin (Manookian), who shadows him so closely he’s known affectionately as “the wife.” Partnering with Damien (Alexis Rodney), they stay solvent through minor theft operations.

With group member Tommy (Sid Mitchell) off to join the army and Francis (Danny Dyer) busy with his girlfriend, the gap between Charlie and Justin becomes increasingly apparent. Former is alert and intelligent, with a natural curiosity about the world and the sensitivity to acknowledge his sadness over the departure of his father (David Thewlis). Latter, on the other hand, is wild, impulsive and none-too-bright, unwilling to consider the shortcomings of his life and content to settle for what he was born into.

Charlie traditionally leaps to Justin’s defense when he is criticized or ridiculed. But each manifestation of Charlie’s yearning for broader horizons — whether it be his interest in a classy girl new to the neighborhood (Dani Behr) or a chance to work with his flash cousin (Richard Driscoll) in the property game — creates jealousy and friction with infantile Justin.

Script by first-time director Nick Love and co-writer Dominic Eames take a little too long to focus on Charlie and Justin, spreading pic thin with some unimportant peripheral characters and purposeless plot distractions. But the story acquires a more interesting edge as the duo’s differences become impossible to ignore, with one realizing his potential while the other accepts his limitations. When Charlie gets possession of a gun during a house robbery, it appears to telegraph predictable developments, but the violence in the story takes other, less obvious forms that eventually push the two friends apart forever.

What keeps the film on track despite its uncertain start is the nuanced playing of Nicholls — who looks uncannily like a younger Jude Law — and Manookian. Especially in the touching late-reel action, as Charlie is torn between deep-rooted loyalty and impatience over his friend’s stupidity while Justin grows more hurt and desperate at the thought of being abandoned, the two young actors play off each other with great skill and maturity. Thewlis has one poignant scene when Charlie visits his dad and Phil Daniels also makes an impression as a volatile Falklands veteran.

Brisk cutting and a soundtrack peppered with recent Brit hits keep things moving at an even pace. Tony Imi’s sharp widescreen lensing avoids the cliched look of dismal working-class squalor, instead emphasizing the color and warmth of the summmertime setting.

Goodbye Charlie Bright

U.K.

Production: A Metrodome release of a Flashpoint/Bonaparte Films presentation of a Cowboy Films/Imagine Films production. (International sales: Victor Film Co., London.) Produced by Charles Steel, Lisa Bryer. Executive producers, David Forrest, Beau Rogers, Cyril Megret. Co-producer, Suzanne Warren, Stephen Cleary, Simon Channing-Williams. Directed by Nick Love. Screenplay, Love, Dominic Eames.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, widescreen), Tony Imi; editor, Patrick Moore; music, Ivor Guest; production designer, Eve Stewart; costume designer, Ffion Elinor; sound (Dolby Digital), Danny Hambrook; associate producer, Kiki Miyake; assistant director, Josh Robertson; casting, Danielle Roffe. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 10, 2001. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: Charlie - Paul Nicholls Justin - Roland Manookian Eddie - Phil Daniels Tony Immaculate - Jamie Foreman Francis - Danny Dyer Blondie - Dani Behr Hector - Richard Driscoll Charlie's dad - David Thewlis Damien - Alexis Rodney Tommy - Sid Mitchell Tommy's dad - Frank Harper

More Film

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content