HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Pariah
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Tove
Young Wives' Tale
Son
Jumbo
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  If.... You're Either With Us Or Against Us
Year: 1968
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Rupert Webster, Robert Swann, Hugh Thomas, Michael Cadman, Peter Sproule, Peter Jeffrey, Anthony Nicholls, Arthur Lowe, Mona Washbourne, Mary MacLeod, Geoffrey Chater, Robin Askwith
Genre: Drama, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's the first day of a new term at a British public school for boys, and as usual the new arrivals - or "scum" as they are named by the older pupils - are having trouble finding exactly where to go to in an unfamiliar place. However, while sixteen-year-old Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) is having no trouble locating his destination, it's fitting in that he has problems with as he turns up in his dorm wrapped in a scarf, large coat and wide-brimmed hat as if in disguise. He attracts the ire of the other boys by his behaviour, but he's actually hiding a moustache grown over the summer which he proceeds to shave off. His delinquency is only beginning...

Other European countries had the Prague Spring or the Paris riots during the year of 1968; Britain on the other hand had Lindsay Anderson's If...., an act of rebellion in cinematic form. Scripted by David Sherwin and John Howlett, the film, like its creators, were products of the public school system and begins as if it were an examination of the various hierarchies involved in such an arrangement, with all the rules and regulations and abuses of power inherent in it. Yet as the story progresses, Travis's dreams of revolution start to warp the documentary-like reality of the film, and it grows increasingly bizarre.

Anderson said his inspiration for If.... was Jean Vigo's classic short film Zéro de Conduite, and it not only shares the setting of a boarding school but also the same feeling of playfulness. But where Vigo was content to send up the establishment he portrays, Anderson and his writers grit their teeth and a palpable anger at the injustices we see breaks through, an outrage embodied by its lead character. The schoolmasters are shown as self-impressed and all too comfortable in a society that exists to discipline those members lower than the highest class, who naturally hold all the aces.

But how natural is that? The film detests such complacency, and Travis emerges as a heroic figure after a while. Early on, you might notice a poster of Che Guevara here, a reference to Guy Fawkes there, marking out the territory of subversion that is carried through to its logical conclusion. Logical in the mind of Travis, that is, as he's essentially an idealist - a simplistic idealist at that - whose notions of overthrowing the old guard dominate the action, leading up to the famous final sequence where he and his young allies take their revenge on those higher up the social ladder who would readily trample them underfoot.

Even the boys enforce this system among themselves, whether through bullying or the oldest ones ordering about or punishing the younger years. Travis and his two friends bear the brunt of this behaviour when their insolent attitude, an attitude Anderson ensures looks absolutely reasonable to us watching, leads them to be caned, and Travis gets more than his fair share. Throughout the film, the perfectly-cast McDowell (in his debut) breaks rules, stealing a motorbike and heading off to meet, by chance, a girl in a cafe (Christine Noonan) who from then on looms large in his fantasies, eventually becoming his right hand woman for the finale as endorsement. Some of the surrealism looks a little pretentious and calculated, but the spirit of fighting back against authority and institutionalised oppression sweeps you up, both encapsulating the year it was made and stirring audiences for decades afterwards. Flawed, but one of the great films of the sixties. Music by Marc Wilkinson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7955 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: