Under The Mud (12A)

Directed by Sol Papadopoulos
Hurricane Films

Reviewed by Mari Jones (26/10/2009)

Back in 2002 a truly unique project was created by the Liverpool film company Hurricane Films and a group of teenagers from Garston. The project was the idea of director Sol Papadopoulos and producers Roy Boulter and Julie Currie, who wanted to make a “collaboration with young people”. The result was Under the Mud, a film written by the teens from their own experiences and a film that has already achieved critical acclaim at film festivals such as Cannes in 2008.

Under the Mud is the story of a dysfunctional family living in Garston and is set around one particular day, the day of little Olivia’s (Jasmine Mubery) Holy Communion. Arguments ensue as soon as the film begins, especially between mum Sally (Lisa Parry) and dad Joe (Andrew Schofield) – he won’t stop telling jokes and she feels completely ignored by him. Then there’s their kids. Paula (Lauren Steele) is a girl with big problems and an imaginary friend, Paul (Dave Hart) who just sits around smoking weed, and Karl (Adam Bailey) who has an obsession with cars that is guaranteed to get him into trouble. In fact Paul's friend Magic (Lenny Wood) - a permanent resident in their home - seems to be the only one trying to keep the family together.

From the plot outline of Under the Mud it seems like another drab, depressing film about life in Garston or any other urban town. But surprisingly it is an uplifting film which Roy Boulter describes as, “a funny and magical tale of everyday life in South Liverpool,” and a story about a family surviving because they have each other – a definite welcome change from normal gritty dramas. And where else would you see a finale that involves a car chase and a giant airport staircase racing through the city?

Issues with music copyright prevented this from being released, but now, from the 2nd of November, this brilliant little film-that-could will be available to buy from shops such as HMV and available to buy online from Amazon. I would recommend it to everyone, not just local people, as it’s a touching and often hilarious film about an unconventional family. And hopefully next time a community film such as this is being created, distributors will sit up, listen and get involved.

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