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  Pebble and the Boy, The All Cod Mods
Year: 2021
Director: Chris Green
Stars: Patrick McNamee, Sacha Parkinson, Max Boast, Patsy Kensit, Ricci Harnett, Emma Stansfield, Christine Tremarco, Stuart Wolfenden, Jamie Lomas, Brian Croucher, Charlotte Tyree, Mani, Rick S. Carr, Mark Sheals, James Mackie, Julian Clapton
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Parker (Patrick McNamee) is in mourning for his father, who died recently in an accident, and the funeral, which was attended by his father's gang of ageing mod friends, has not soothed the young man's troubled mind. When the scooter his parent was riding is returned shortly after, he has a brainwave: would it not be a fitting tribute to take both scooter and the ashes down to Brighton - John is in Manchester - and scatter them on the beach there, the site of many a mod pilgrimage since the famed battles on the pebbles so many years back in the nineteen-sixties? It would be if only he could persuade his mother (Christine Tremarco), and eventually he has to resort to rushing off on said scooter without her permission...

Exactly how old John is supposed to be is a little bit of a mystery, as his stepfather tries to prevent him going on his journey, but apparently John is a student and therefore presumably about twenty years old, therefore theoretically old enough to make his own decisions. But when his character's dad was actually called Phil Parker, therefore literally "Fill Parka" (!), which presumably he did all those years on his scooter, then you were not dealing with scripting that was particularly subtle. It was that peculiar subsection of British films, the road movie, except where the United States or Australia had the wide open spaces to take in an epic story, if only in miles travelled, the U.K. was a place where the protagonist could jaunt from one end of the country in about a day, and therefore was less impressive by its nature.

A canny director would make a virtue of this scaled back attempt to make a mythos of the local geography, but the director here, Chris Green, was less interested in that and more caught up in the nostalgia for a past Britain, where mods ruled the highways and byways of this land, except that was more the sixties, and it was the already-nostalgic mod revival of the late seventies into the eighties that concerned us here. Despite the age of the lead, this was apparently aimed at men in their sixties who saw Quadrophenia as youngsters and were sufficiently affected, Phil Daniels being the star of course, despite the lead of that movie utterly rejecting the notion of youth tribes when he realised what a sham they were... that part tended to be left out of the memories for the movie by those who were fans from way back. Though there was an element of this in John, as he keeps protesting he is not a mod.

This despite dressing in the parka, having a helmet emblazoned with the RAF logo, and is riding a scooter festooned with rear view mirrors. You may think he is protesting too much, and that seems to be the point, but in a too-convoluted storyline as John tries to find out a secret about his father the young chap is such a wet blanket that his frequent complaining that he's giving up and going home may have you wishing he would do just that so we could spend more time with Nicki. Who she? She is the girl John meets at a friend of his dad's and encourages him to travel to Brighton so they can attend a Paul Weller concert - don't get too excited, though there are a few vintage mod revival tracks to be heard, the budget wouldn't stretch to actual Paul Weller, so all we get is his photograph. Played by Sacha Parkinson, Nicki is unconvincing as a character, but played with enough vigour to brighten the screen when she appears, even if the script sees fit to have her sexually assaulted at one point for baffling reasons. She doesn't report it, she doesn't suffer any after-effects or trauma, and is soon making incest jokes on the beach. The Pebble and the Boy, not to be confused with The Pebble and the Penguin, was a brave try at its own mod revival, but the aggressive tonal shifts didn't stick.

[The Pebble And The Boy will be in UK Cinemas from 27th August 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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