Purely Belter

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Movie Review by Vickie Jones

Starring: Charlie Hardwick, Tim Healy

Director: Mark Herman

PURELY BELTER is a gem of a film that proves less is often more.

Not being a huge football fan myself, the idea of watching a movie based around two young lads trying to muster enough money between them to buy two season tickets to see Newcastle United play had about as much appeal as a wet Sunday. But this is not a film just for die-hard football fans as it captures the essence of youth and strikes a chord with anyone who has a passion or dream they aspire to.

The setting is none other than sunny Newcastle where we are introduced to two teenage misfits Gerry (Chris Beattie) and his unemployed best pal Sewell (Greg McLane). Although Gerry is still at school, but only when forced, they both share the same dream ? two season tickets to their beloved football club. However, there is one hitch, the small problem of finding £1,000 to pay for them. These tickets are hard to come by at the best of times and even harder if you are a penniless teenager.

Having both scholared in the “university of life” the mischievous duo manage to dream up an array of hotchpotch ideas from begging on the street to gambling, in a bid to reach their goal of £1,000. They make slow progress but the task in hand is made even more difficult as they have to contend with Gerry?s violent and alcoholic father (Tim Healey), an enthusiastic social worker, a sick mother and “mad dog Matthew” along the way.

Things appear to look up when Gerry?s social worker offers him a pair of football tickets in return for two weeks school attendance. But things do not turn out the way he had hoped as the tickets are for a game to see Newcastle United?s rivals Sunderland FC at the Stadium of Light, which they aptly rename the “Stadium of Shite”.

But all is not lost and the boys are determined to find a way of seeing their hero Shearer play. This film is perfect timing, riding on the wave of Euro 2000 euphoria ? or lack of ? and gives a true insight to a two harmless football fans. Gerry and Sewell manage to win over the audience with their down to earth wit and charm, along with their endearing passion for football hero Alan Shearer, who makes a cameo appearance.

Award-winning writer/director Mark Herman, of highly acclaimed BRASSED OFF and LITTLE VOICE, has yet again produced another success. He took a chance on using two unknowns for the lead roles but newcomers Beattie and McLane have proven they can cut it with the best of them. Based on Jonathon Tullock?s novel “The Season Ticket” the script boasts some hilarious one liners. But a warning goes out to anyone who has read the book as Herman deviates from the novel?s ending in a bid to give the film a more up-beat finish. This is a heart-warming film that can only be described as PURELY BELTER.

5 out of 6 stars