Treacle Jr.

Treacle Jr.

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Soda Pictures

Release date: July 15th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 80 minutes

Writer and director: Jamie Thraves
Music: The Stems

Cast: Tom Fisher, Aidan Gillen, Riann Steele

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Have you ever passed by those people on the streets asking for a few pennies and wondered what unfortunate events in their lives lead them there?

It’s not something we like to think about, we’re too busy with our own lives to start worrying about the lives of perfect strangers. But yet, it’s something we should think about because, like Treacle Jr. shows us, it can happen to anyone. Even us.

Treacle Jr.

Tom Evans (Tom Fisher) leaves his wife and child at home one morning, gets on a train from Birmingham and arrives in London. He throws away his phone, takes out his wallet and stuffs £200 in notes in his back pocket and bins the rest, but not before he saves a photograph of the family he’s left behind.

As night falls and with nowhere to go he sits on a park bench. When he sees a group of youths heading towards him Tom starts running, but in a panic he runs right into a tree, knocking himself unconscious. The next morning he takes himself to the A&E to get checked out but once he’s there he meets Aidan (Aidan Gillen), a very loud and child-like man with a baseball cap, badges and a rucksack who thinks he’s found a new best friend.

Treacle Jr.

Tom’s attempts to ditch his friend fail miserably each time and even though Aidan annoys him immensely, he offers him a meal (custard cream biscuits) and a place to stay (his top bunk). When his ‘girlfriend’ Linda (Riann Steele) arrives, Tom begins to realise that his troubles are pale in comparison to his friend’s. Linda is violently abusive, manipulative and allergic to cats; this is not good at all, especially as Aidan has just snuck in a baby kitten, Treacle Jr., to live with them.

Eventually the softly-spoken Tom will have to face what he’s been running away from, but his friendship with Aidan could be just the thing that helps him along.

Treacle Jr.

I can’t begin to say how much I fell in love with this film. I didn’t know very much about it to begin with and this is mostly because I like to be surprised when watching something. The story is one that is incredibly touching and real. It was heart wrenching to see Aidan beaten up and verbally abused by everyone, from Linda, to a shop owner, an elderly neighbour and even Tom has a go, but he is the happiest guy ever who always looks on the bright side of things, even with a broken arm.

Performance-wise, Aidan Gillen really shines here in this role. He is just perfect with the right balance of humour, warmth, gritty charm and edginess. Tom Fisher is also great here, immediately recognisable from one of my favourite films, Ben Hopkins’ The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz (1999). The main antagonist is of course Linda, played by Riann Steele. She captures the right amount of venom to make the character fearful and loathsome.

Treacle Jr.

The dialogue is so wonderfully written, there were times when I thought Aidan said something rude but it turned out to be innocent – “six footer” and “hot beach” never sounded so funny before! Even funnier was when he turned up on a lady’s doorstep with a pair of scissors, offering to trim her bush!

I also love that not everything is explained away; we’re left to fill in some blanks ourselves, like what made Tom leave his home. Seeing what he eventually overcomes in the course of the movie, whatever conclusions we draw is a good sign that a film is doing what film is supposed to, not only drawing us into its story but leaving us with something to think about.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.