In the age of blockbusters, a microbudget debut is always an exciting prospect. Lanarkshire filmmaker Paul Morris’ first feature is set among an abandoned housing estate, overrun by gangs in camo and black berets (The Bramble Boys, with the earnest vibes of a Scout Troop) or black jackets with white ski masks (The Campbells – the invaders on the Bramble Boys’ hard-held turf). To avoid all-out war, the Bramble Boys must be smarter and faster than their more affluent and brutal rivals, setting the scene for a series of odd, endearing, and audacious hijinks.  

The stakes in Angry Young Men are presented as life or death; however, the weapons and effects are clearly styrofoam, hollow tubes, and stuffed nylons. This absurdist incongruity lends the impression that the characters are doing as much acting as the actors, that the gangland is as much a necessary, and largely safe, fantasy for their growth as it is a land of peril. But this mismatch is never played for laughs; the boys’ coming-of-age is given gravity and respect. None of the fake bludgeons and intestines take away from the tenseness of an early scene, when a lone Bramble Boy on crutches evades a car full of enemies up and down the hills, groves, and alleys of a housing estate for several minutes (the film’s standout sequence). 

These low-tech effects and a cast of largely first-time actors shows Morris’ trust not only in his scenario but in his audience to join his journey. While wooden and unintentionally silly moments are inevitable, the trust pays off. Suspension of disbelief has rarely been this fun. 

Angry Young Men is an explosive debut on a mere £1000 budget. The passion with which it is made carries the always-engaging if uneven effort throughout less-formed areas. Morris’ follow-up is eagerly awaited. 



CAST: Paul Morris, Stephen Arthur, Mitchell Ronald

DIRECTOR: Paul Morris

WRITER: Paul Morris

SYNOPSIS: The Bramble Boys must defend their territory against the invading Campbells in this low-budget gangland comedy.