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BBC's CLAY


Chase - Posted on 28 November 2009

Uhm, yeah. Dark, disturbing, controversial (to say the least), more than slightly sacreligious, this mix of FRANKENSTEIN and a large helping of THE GOLEM and maybe even THE OMEN or ROSEMARY'S BABY, this BBC adaptation of David Almond's (what was he thnking?) novel is a strange beast. On one hand it's meant to be a monster story, then a gay tale, then a tale of revenge and liars, demonism, and heart? It's also a coming of age story. None of these elements quite mix well and none really give a...erm, heart to the tale but there are moments of pure...entertainment, I think. It's not a straightforward story at all. Is the enigmatic Stephen Rose an angel of a different kind, a demon, a hypnotist with delusions of grandeur, a lover? A killer? Is the monster CLAY real? Is he good or bad? Is he a mix of the good ole boy Davies or the evil Stephen? Stephen controls his Aunt Mary (who seems to me to be played by one of the actresses who played one of the villains of HARRY POTTER--you know the vicious school principal?). At the same time, he claims he needs some of the wine and bread (blood and body) from the Catholic church where Davies and his little but feisty pal Geordie perform altar boy duties at. Stephen wants to bring his largest clay piece back to life since he couldn't raise the ...dead in the past. I won't say more about that but it's a strange movie. There's also a bully who Davies and Geordie wish dead more than once. I'm not sure what this movie is meant to be but it's well acted and well filmed and the music is quite good. It's a bit schizo and I'm not sure it means anything or that is actually happened. Some of it is a bit surreal such as when Davies takes his and Stephen (they made it together and from their spit and clay and the aforementioned mix)'s creation on a short tour of the town at night. Can Clay kill? Stephen is charming enough but he's seen as almost too adult right from his first scene. He's also evil, self centered, manipulative, agressive, threatening, and judgemental. He thinks he's seen an angel. One thing that is definite: he can make great wooden and/or clay statues. The setting is a nice 1965 town in England and the backdrops and location work are stunningly beautiful. The young and old cast are very good but there's something missing from this: perhaps a heart? It just doesn't really seem to mean anything. I wonder if there are sequels? Oh and Stephen kisses Davies and gets rather more than close to him physically more than once before and after that. That avenue is never really explored further bar one short scene where Stephen moves in for a bigger (shall we say?) kiss from Davies, who prevents him. Alot of these plots go nowhere and noplace and maybe that's saying something in and of itself but some of them do go somewhere and only one or two are signposted. It's not a boring story, I'll give it that but I'm not sure it's worth the time.          

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