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451. Postcards From London; movie review

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Title : 451. Postcards From London; movie review
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Cert 15
86 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, sex references

As Mrs W and I wandered through Soho last month we remarked on how tame it seemed to be by comparison to just a decade or so ago.
In the past, there was a seediness to an area which has now been gentrified and instead of sex shops on every corner, there are people eating croissants outside French cafes.
It is still an area where the boundary-pushers are most likely to be seen but it doesn't have the same sense of dark and edgy.
This would appear to be lamented by director Steve Mclean whose Postcards From London recalls how Soho was.
His film stars Harris Dickinson as an Essex boy who seeks out the bright lights like so many before him.
He makes for the big city without any idea of what he is going to do and is immediately ripped off and robbed.
Almost inevitably, given his good looks, he is drawn into selling his body. But he becomes a high-end rent boy to specialist clients who like to chat as well as get down and dirty.
However, my synopsis makes Mclean's film out to be much more straightforward than it is.
Dickinson's character has a penchant for art history and is a particular devotee of Caravaggio. However, whenever he sees a famous painting, he faints and dreams of being one of its subjects.
Postcards From London is odd. It has the feel of a theatre piece rather than a movie and it is curiously high-brow despite its base subject being male prostitution.
The director admits that this is a homage to a Soho of his imagination and, he certainly achieves his goal of it looking stylised by keeping it studio-based.
I am afraid its whimsy felt more than a tad self-indulgent to Mrs W and me and we found it difficult to follow.
But let's be honest, we are neither Bohemian nor are we connoisseurs of art, so we are not exactly the target audience for Mclean's film.
We thought that it was contrived but we would accept that others may not and there is no doubt that Dickinson gave his all to his part.

Reasons to watch: If you have the same nostalgic view of Soho as Steve Mclean
Reasons to avoid: If you need your movies to have a clear storyline

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 5/10

Director quote - Steve Mclean: "Postcards is not built around a conventional narrative, rather it imagines a series of episodes and moments which hopefully build into something evocative of this elusive Soho which is no longer with us but still haunts the streets of central London."

The big question - Why did the edgy Soho disappear?

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