BFS Video // 2006 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // August 31st, 2011
...individual stories of the residents of an ordinary street.
On Bold Street, in Manchester, northern England, lives many a blue collar worker. Writer Jimmy McGovern (Cracker) has penned tales of those living on Bold Street for The Street, a fictional drama series produced for BBC television. The Street: Season Two is, obviously, the second season of the show.
The operative word for any, and all, episodes of The Street is bleak. Every episode takes one or two individuals (sometimes a family or two) on Bold Street and throws them into a deep crisis. The crisis typically involves a traumatic or shameful event that someone is trying to keep secret. However, over the course of the episode, the secret eventually comes out and the fallout is dealt with. The resolutions are, at best, bittersweet, but never, ever uplifting.
Each episode is self-contained, with only a few characters appearing (briefly) in multiple stories.
The Street: Season Two presents six episodes on two discs. Each episode is an hour long. The first episode features a man stealing the identity of his identical twin brother in order to escape a dreary and dead-end life, including his family. In the second, a taxi driver runs into an old girlfriend, makes a huge financial blunder trying to impress her, and then tries to hide it along with a drunken driving incident from his family. The third sees a married (with children) alpha-male construction worker experimenting with his sexuality and, again, trying to hide it from his family. The next episode presents two friends that get blitzed during a pub crawl and find themselves involved in a brutal beating; however, only one of them is charged. The penultimate episode is about a postman stealing cash from the mail. The last episode is about a young man who committed a terrible crime as a child and can't escape the shame.
The acting in The Street is solid, as is to be expected in any British drama series featuring the likes of Timothy Spall (Topsy-Turvy), Mark Benton (Breaking And Entering), David Thewlis (The Big Lebowski) and Gina McKee (Notting Hill). However, the stories are extremely repetitive and formulaic, especially if viewed in quick succession. Every story is comprised of a shameful act, a cover-up, the cover-up starts to fall apart, and, finally, the character faces the music. The result is that the episodes become less compelling the further the series progresses. Further, the fact that the stories are all heavy (and heavy-handed, at times) makes the individual episodes less resonant and less realistic.
There are no technical issues with this release. The video is clear and detailed. The audio is crisp and all dialogue is audible, although subtitles would have been useful to decipher some moments as the accents can be thick.
There are no extras.
The Street has its moments, but the unrelenting and repetitive gloominess is eventually unbearable. Is there no joy in life? According to The Street, life is brutal without respite. Based on this assessment, if the intent of this series is to paint a "true" portrait of ordinary working class life in Britain, it fails miserably. Nobody, and definitely not everybody, loses all the time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site