The Tribe (1998)

  |  Drama


The Tribe (1998) Poster

Property developer Jamie has to evict some weird, post-modern hippies from a building. But they slowly drag him into their dark underworld of bizarre rituals and dangerous liaisons.


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3 April 2001 | feelinglistless
Sometimes, style is better than substance . . .
Dropped from a theatrical release and shown late on BBC2, 'The Tribe' iso one of the 150 films made each year in Britain which fails at the distribution hurdle. Which is a shame, because as an experience there are few films as strange, tingly and beautiful.

A reluctant Northam finds himself in the position of having to evict a long standing cult from a fabulous piece of real estate. He is amazed to find a group of people who seem to be happy to live within on the edges of society, who are happy with their own company but happy to use the world around them from nature to people as they see fit. As he is drawn into their world he finds that he can only be the agent of its destruction.

It's a theme which in many ways was covered a little more successfully in 'Pleasantville' and in countless films about rain forests. Working better in this film is the theme of the outsider in society - the twist being how much like them we would like to be. Years before 'The Matrix' we have people in long black coats striding arrogantly through their landscape, through city parks and the inner city. The bystanders look on with a mixture of discust and envy.

Richardson offers an enigmatic performance, as do the other 'are you in it too?' members of the tribe. Like Northam we don't know who they are and its at only very infrequent moments that we see the cracks below their reserve. By offering such understated performances, we find ourselves trying to reflect into them. Our imaginations try to work out their former lives.

Whilst we know the ending is innevitable, like the lead character we are happy to be taken along for the ride . . .

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