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Straightheads

We watched an interesting (if not totally successful) movie last night, Straightheads with Gillian Anderson. It really made me think about the perceptions of class, and the difference between viewing the movie with American eyes vs. British ones.

The basic plot concerns a career woman who picks up a bit of rough in the form of the kid who comes to install the surveillance system in her new luxe flat. She takes him to a very elegant work party, they end up making love, and then on the way home late that night they almost rear-end a decrepit Landrover with her Lexus. As they rev past them, the kid leans out the window, makes a rude gesture, and yells “wankers!” A few minutes later, they have an unexpected impact with a deer, and the Landrover catches up to them, with disastrous consequences.

The three baddies in the film are dressed in padded gillets, corduroys, motheaten sweaters, and heavy boots. The main one is a farmer. The vehicle is a rusty Landrover probably twenty years old. An American seeing this film would assume that it’s one of a thousand “rich urban types meet inbred scary rednecks” movies, and would interpret the film based upon those assumptions. If you live in the UK, however, you have a very different perception of the men. Farmers are rich. Oh, sure, to a man they’ll all moan about how cash-strapped they are, but the cost of land in the UK would mean that the main bad guy was probably a millionaire. Puts a whole different spin on the movie, doesn’t it? Yes, they’re still violent men, but they’re the local gentry, and she has no place in their world; there’s a touch of droit de seigneur as Gillian Anderson’s character is thrown to the group like meat to dogs.

Worth watching, although not a cheery movie, and weak in places. But interesting.

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