The Selfish Giant


Arbor and Swifty

My wife picked out a DVD recently called The Selfish Giant. I thought it sounded familiar but it wasn’t until the closing credits that I copped it was the name of Oscar Wilde’s famous children’s story.

This is a modern take on that. The setting is the grim and gritty estates and wastelands of Bradford, north England. The story is of two boys – each with their own crippling personal and family problems – who struggle and battle for purpose.

The youngest boy is Arbor, a feral child, brilliantly captured by Conner Chapman. His quieter and more sensitive friend is Swifty, also excellently played by Shaun Thomas. They get expelled from school after they protect each other from bullies.  Like so many such boys they have qualities – not least entrepreneurship, loyalty, and, in Swifty’s case, a gift with horses. One of the reasons the story appealed to me was that it is similar to the story I am writing.

clio barnard

Clio Barnard

The boys get involved with a shady, and violent, local scrap dealer and criminal, Kitten, played by Sean Gilder. All the acting is superb in this, including the boys’ parents and siblings. It has all the social realism of a Mike Leigh production. The writer and director by the way is Clio Barnard. Hats off to her.

It is a powerful piece of art. It is moving, visually beautiful at times, endearing, gripping and painfully sad. It’s maybe not a Friday night film. More of a Saturday/Sunday night one. Well, well worth it.

See review here in the telegraph


About Cormac O'Keeffe

I've written a novel. And, it's going to be published. This April. Mad, or what? It's entitled 'Black Water' and is a crime novel set in Dublin's gangland, along the evocative Grand Canal. This blog is about that bumpy journey, which is about to get really exciting. You'll also find some photography on this blog, particularly snaps that relate to my novel, much of it centred along the canal. There are also some reviews, both fiction and non-fiction, many of them published in the Irish Examiner, a daily national newspaper in Ireland. I work as security correspondent there and have specialist interests in crime, drugs, policing, the justice system, communities and human rights. Both my personal life and my professional life have fed into my novel, or, rather, have been poured into it. My novel was granted a literature bursary by the Irish Arts Council in September 2014 and my journalistic work has won multiple awards from the Law Society of Ireland over many years, most recently in 2015.
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