Shopping (1994)    0 Stars

“Crash & Carry”

Shopping (1994)

Director: Paul Anderson

Cast: Sadie Frost, Jude Law, Sean Pertwee

Synopsis: Lone group of teens, led by recently released joyrider and his disenchanted Belfast girlfriend, strives to leave their mark on “a British city in the near future” while attempting to avoid a rival gang.




Despite a fairly respectable cast — hampered as always by a performance of school-play standards from Jude Law (Alfie, Dom Hemingway) — Paul W. S. Anderson’s Shopping is something of a mess. Less than twenty years old, and yet looking more dated than films twice its age, it has no real story to tell, a bunch of moronic characters — who are still, somehow, able to run rings around the police — and truly awful dialogue. What story there is revolves around Billy (Law), a bolshy teenager who we meet as he is released from prison. ‘What has prison taught you, Billy?” police officer Jonathan Pryce (Carrington) asks our anti-hero and, given that this was the opening dialogue, I prayed that Billy wouldn’t say ‘don’t get caught’. But he did. He went and said it, and my hopes plummeted.

Before you know it, Law has hooked up with girlfriend Jo (Sadie Frost — Dracula — who at least brings some feistiness to her role) and is stealing BMWs so that he can engage the dim-witted police in a few car chases on the strangely deserted roads. We’re given little sense of place because of director Paul W. S. Anderson’s stylistic whims and misguided attempts to create atmospheric scenarios, which leaves us struggling to get into the story and, thanks to Law’s insipid interpretation of an already bland and stereotypical character, it’s impossible to identify with either Billy or the situations in which he finds himself. On the strength of this early outing for both actors, you would have expected Sean Pertwee (The 51st State, Wilderness) to go on to a more successful career than Law. In writer-director Anderson’s defence, it has to be said that this is his first attempt, and he does at least possess a keen eye for an arresting image but, on the strength of rubbish like this, it’s little wonder that Film Four went out of business.

(Reviewed 23rd October 2007)