18 November 2012 | paul2001sw-1
Nicely conceived, but overly schematic in execution
'The Scouting Book for Boys' tells the story of a teenage boy who helps a girl he fancies run away from home. Ultimately, the unidirectionality of that relationship is to have dire consequences. In many ways, it reminded me of the sort of novels I used to write: the problem is, my novels weren't very good. So you have a naive protagonist; conflicts of interest at first hidden or ignored, later painfully apparent; stylised minor characters who ultimately seem more like the embodiment of ideas rather than real flesh and blood; and a plot that makes sense in outline but doesn't quite hold up in practice, in part because the protagonists seem to be stretched to fulfil its demands, instead of the story feeling like the entirely natural consequence of who the protagonists are. The film is set in north Norfolk: an attractive coast, but I didn't get a profound sense of place from how this movie is shot. The reliably excellent Thomas Turgoose does what he can with the material, but is limited by the lack of depth in the story. In fact, this isn't an awful movie; but it feels like a first time effort, and less than the potential sum of its parts.