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Absolute Beginners Movie Review

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Julien Temple's underrated Absolute Beginners provides an unsettling portrait of London circa 1958. The film has been criticized for its lack of character development and for its last-minute attack on racism, and although these flaws are real, there is much worth seeing and hearing in this flashy study of the emergence of the British teen. Magnetic performances by David Bowie and Sade, amusing bits by Ray Davies and Mandy Rice-Davies, and interesting work by Patsy Kensit and Anita Morris contribute to the striking atmosphere. The impressive photography and great jazz don't hurt, either. I'd like to see this one along with the 1960 Val Guest film Expresso Bongo, starring Laurence Harvey and Cliff Richard, which examines the same world from a slightly different perspective.

1986 (PG) 107m/C GB David Bowie, Ray Davies, Mandy Rice-Davies, James Fox, Eddie O'Connell, Patsy Kensit, Anita Morris, Sade Adu, Sandie Shaw; D: Julien Temple; W: Richard Burridge, Don MacPherson; C: Oliver Stapleton. VHS, LV

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