24 7: Twenty Four Seven; Drama, UK, 1998; D: Shane Meadows, S: Bob Hoskins, Danny Nussbaum, Bruce Jones, Annette Badland, Justin Brady, James Hooton, Darren O. Campbell
Alan Darcy is a tenacious 55-year old worker in a small provincial town in Britan who rebels against the apathy of teenagers and considers them as too weak to try to help themselves. Hence he decides to it for them and organizes a boxing club with 10 youngsters from the street. Among them is Tim, who often argues with his father Geoff, and the overweight Carl, whose rich father Ronnie finances the club. Wesley is a drug addict, so Darcy defends him personally on the court and accepts him for training, while brining the boys for a trip to Wales. When the first boxing match starts, the violence ends in a catastrophe: Darcy has a fight with Tim's dad. In the end, Darcy dies as a tramp.Depressive and pessimistic black and white social drama "24/7" is an interesting essay about the inability of an individual to change people for the better, even more since his methods of helping youngsters are actually counterproductive and misguided (by letting them fight in a boxing match) which all starts with the neat opening credit of numbers 1/1 that slowly get raised up to 24/7 up until the tragedy that ends it. Shane Meadows proves to have skill despite the fact that he made his debut as a feature length film director and leads the story without any kind of concession to the wider audience, creating a painfully realistic image of a cruel world and circumstances that can't be changed: in one scene, the youngsters spot a foreign gang appraoching and spit on their own food so that they won't steal it away from them while Tim almost has a physical clash with his rigid father Geoff (played very well by Bruce Jones, the hero of the acclaimed drama "Raining Stones"). Still, there is also a handful of comical moments, like the dialoge between Darcy and the youngsters ("Something stinks here, and it's not my underpants because they are new." - "Well, it's not me either, I don't wear any at all!"), while Bob Hoskins is in top notch shape as the leading hero, a "raw Don Bosco". A part of the critics dismissed the film as just another addition in the long line of grey dramas that show the bad side of the world and don't offer any solution, and some characters are irritating, but as a whole it's a very good achievement.