A Boy Called Dad
April's pre-blockbuster season is a traditional 'dump slot' for unanticipated UK films, and it's a shame to see A Boy Called Dad given such unceremonious treatment, particularly as it showcases a strong performance from the perennially underused Ian Hart.
Filming on unlovely locations around Nottingham, Llandudno and Skegness, A Boy Called Dad's title succinctly nails the nature of its small-scale drama. 1980s casualty Joe (Hart) is the seldom-seen father of teenage tearaway Robbie (Kyle Ward), who inadvertently fathers a child during a bus-shelter fumble with Nia (Charlene McKenna). Things take a melodramatic twist when Robbie goes on the run with their baby, while Joe searches desperately for his son (and grandson) before the authorities close in.
As with East Midland Media's other kidnapping drama from 2009 Crying With Laughter, Brian Percival's film treats a potentially contrived situation with welcome seriousness, with Hart ideally cast as a genial man sobered up by seeing his son make the same mistakes as he did. Cameos from genre stalwarts Steve Evets (Summer) and Chrissy Rock (Ladybird, Ladybird) set the tone for a worthy entry in the ongoing grim-up-north cycle.
Selected release from Fri 30 Apr.