I saw three of the films in which he played, the 4th one being a TV project cancelled after eight episodes due to poor ratings and negative reviews, The Innocence Project (2006 – 2007, TV). All of them gave me the same impression: Thomas plays as himself or better saying his playing is so good that it seems real, coherent & natural (in This Is England (2006), Somers Town (2008) and less in Eden Lake (2008) which is a thriller – not particularly the type of film you’d like to see while alone at night!)
My favourite scene in Somers Town encapsulates the idea (and ideaL) of this film: it’s beautifully shot, is at once both totally real and too perfect to be true, and it transports you to a place that only exist in cinema, at the same time reminding you that real life could be like that, if you just slowed down and focused back on the most important things. It’s wonderful, and the high point of a lovely little film.
(you have to increase the sound volume a bit, but the scene does not necessarily need words at all!)
In his first film role, Thomas Turgoose played the lead character, Shaun in This Is England, written and directed by Shane Meadows. His performance won the British Independent Film Awards 2006 honour for Most Promising Newcomer (On Screen). Thomas’s mother, Sharon, died of cancer on 30 December 2005; This Is England is dedicated to her memory.
His most recent appearance is in The Scouting Book For Boys which will be released in March 2010. I have read some great positive reviews and saw some trailers. I can’t wait to see it. Screenplay is by writer Jack Thorne, known for TV dramas Skins and Shameless, and cinematographer Robbie Ryan, most recently of Fish Tank (which I recommend to people who are more into “reality bites” films).
Here’s the synopsis from the London Film Festival site (Winner of Best British Newcomer Award: Jack Thorne – Screenwriter):
Having grown up together on a caravan park on the Norfolk coast where their respective parents work, young teenagers David (Thomas Turgoose) and Emily (Holly Grainger) have become close friends, deeply reliant on each other for distractions and mischief. It’s a shock to them both when it’s decided that Emily is to be sent away to live with her father, and there’s even greater alarm throughout the park community when Emily disappears. David struggles to cope as the situation grows ever more complex. The debut feature from Tom Harper, directore of a number of acclaimed shorts, and written by playwright and Skins contributor Jack Thorne, The Scouting Book for Boys is an expertly constructed drama with deftly handled shifts in tone, depicting the anxieties, awkwardness and fears of being a teenager, without denying the occasional delights of being young or the possibility of fun and adventure during a hazy British summer.
So why do I like Thomas’s performances?! The truth is I have been looking for films in which I can find real emotion for approximately 2 years (since I saw The Painted Veil and Once). Real emotion emerged from real life situations, social confruntations, films in which the ugliest part of a human being is saved somehow through an unaltred sparkle of GOOD. Not soap-operas or Brad Pitt sugary speech. But small proofs of humanity and kindness in the worst situations, where apparently there is no hope. And such emotions mainly come from my inner desire – as a viwer and as a human being – for the good to triumph over the bad. Quite a simple idea but representative for any social, religious, cultural reality.