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Us and Them

Mar 17, 2018

Straw Dogs meets Tarantino in a violently bright spoof of the class conflict in England.

Us and Them

Grade: B+

Director: Joe Martin (Keep Quiet)

Screenplay: Martin

Cast: Jack Roth (The Snowman), Sophie Colquhoun (Captain America: the First Avenger)

Runtime: 1 hr 23 min

by John DeSando

“It’s called class war for a reason,” says Danny (Jack Roth). “There has to be victims on both sides.”

Us and Them represents that class warfare with a mixture of Straw Dogs and Tarantino. You’re right; it’s a bloody business with Danny and his two working-class goons invading a Brit upper-class home to seek redress for the social injustices of the 1% taking from the blue-class stiffs for the upper crust’s advantage.

But there’s also ample humor in the invaders stumbling over themselves, Marx Bros. and Marx style, to pull off a mostly ill-conceived invasion (a BB gun??). Heading this gang that can’t shoot straight is Roth’s superb performance as the tough but conflicted Danny.   It’s an amusing and sardonic and poignant satire.

Given he’s Tim Roth’s son, not only can we expect a performance so gritty as to immediately reveal he has no acting school to weigh him down. (Also, he reminds me of the versatile Jack Plotnick, whose talents extend from acting to writing and directing as well.)

Besides Roth’s presence are the stylized set-ups and performances perfected by Guy Ritchie and the sardonic asides of Quentin Tarantino’s rough-hewn tough guys.  Kudos to writer/director Joe Martin for catching Brit blue collar frustrations and the unfathomable gulf between the wealthy and the rest of the world’s blokes.

Although Us and Them plays to the global divide between the haves and the have-nots, it goes much deeper to satirize the dangers of narrow extremism on either side of that divide.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com