erial killing may be the new rock ’n’ roll for modern ﬁlmmakers but. according to writer and director Paul Anderson. the real growth crime in Europe and America is car theft. The car is the Western consumer object. and the attraction it holds for disadvantaged and disaffected youth forms the basis for his contro- versial new film. .S’hopping. a bleak and timeless tale of rival teenage gangs who indulge their twin predilections forjoyriding and ram-raiding in an unspecified city.
A gloomy beginning with Billy (Jude Law). fresh out of jail. rejected by his family and stealing cars again with his Irish girlfriend Jo (Sadie Frost). moves to the inevitably grim end. With the exception of Tommy (Sean Pertwee). a dangerous gangleader. ‘entrepreneur’ and Billy’s arch rival. nobody prospers.
In a bid for a ‘rush’. the protagonists steal fast cars and invite the police to give chase. play ‘chickcn’ on a dual carriageway and go ‘shopping’ — ram-raiding high class malls for designer merchandise. Some don’t live to tell the tale. Here is a generation which rejects the consumerist society it cannot hope to enter. a society that has already abandoned and alienated them. a society wearily defended by Detective Conway (Jonathan Pryce).
Sadie Frost. who plays Jo. admits she had misgivings when she first saw the completed film: ‘I was surprised at how fast and violent and angry it was. and I felt it would cause a stir. But the second time I saw it. I realised that there’s nothing new in it. We see worse things on ottr screens every day in the news. It tells a story. and part of the story is this awful trend for joyriding which causes road accidents. injury and death. But Paul Anderson had experience of this in his native Newcastle and made a TV short called Speed about the subject some years ago. He spoke to a lot of the kids involved and was interested in the whole concept of the kick and why they do it. He wanted to show this strange world that some young people are part of.’
Frost came to fame as Lucy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. after appearing in Diamond Skulls.
Splitting Heirs and The Krays‘ (with hubby and ex-Spandau Ballet member Gary Kemp). As Jo. she’s streetwise and. on the surface.just as keen as Billy to take what they can’t buy —- a BMW. 21 pair of tacky sunglasses or a state-of-the~an kettle. She adopts a cocky swagger in her androgynous trousers and black leather overcoat. but deep down she knows the adrena-
l lin days are numbered.
10 The List 17 it) Join: l‘)‘)4
oing for the Messages
Ram-raiding and joyriding are the twin themes of the latest British film to hit our screens. Sadie Frost, one of the stars of Shopping, talks to Hilary Oliver about life in the fast lane.
‘Jo has come over from Northern Ireland.’ says Frost. ‘and she is very lost and alone. She travels around and never stays in any one place for very long. She got involved with joyriding which became her fix and her bond with other people.’ With no great history to his characters. and vague as regards time and place. Anderson has at
‘l was surprised at how fast and violent and angry it was, and I felt it would cause a stir. But the second time I saw it, I realised
‘She’s also afraid of her sexuality. that’s why she dresses the way she does and acts like one of the boys. but she feels for Billy. who is younger than she is. She yearns for a relation- ship and knows that she can’t go on living the way she does. She even tries to persuade Billy to go away somewhere. The sad thing is she gets caught tip with him and she can’t move on without him. yet she knows it will lead to disaster.’
Frost defends Jo’s bitter lament ‘If you don’t get humped. you don’t get dumped’ by saying. ‘I think Paul was wise in avoiding any physical relationship between Jo and Billy. The lack of tenderness adds to the frustration in their lives and the tension on screen.‘
Anderson’s sparse and often brutal dialogue reﬂects the paucity of his characters’ lives and provided Frost with her biggest challenge. ‘It’s always worrying when there isn’t a lot of dialogue.’ she agrees. ‘When I saw the script. I thought: “The character’s all there. but she doesn’t actually have that much to say”. But then I thought about my own conversations with my sisters or my best friends. If we’re just sitting there at home. we do tend to talk in that broken-up fashion. My generation — and I include myself — is not
least given Jo at _ _ . very descriptive. we rationale and roots. that there’s nothing new In It. We don’t go in for polite ‘Coming from see worse things on our screens conversation. I don’t Northern Ireland gives every day in the news.’ really have a lot to say Jo her toughness and sometimes. I think her vulnerability.’ that’s a remarkable adds Frost. ‘She has observation on Paul’s
seen some awful things happening which have scarred her and made her who she is. She’ll join Billy joyriding for a laugh. but she has seen many kids injured and killed. and she’s really had enough.
part. he knows how these people communicate. very often with only body language. That was a challenge, but it also allowed me to enjoy the physicality of the role.’ LJ
Shopping opens in Scotland on Friday 24 June
Billy and Jo. driven over the edge j