I watched Made in Britain last week. I put the DVD in one evening when I was bored and wanted to pass a hour or two before bed. I didn’t realise that it would be quite like it was, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for the intensity I experienced. Tim Roth’s performance was the best I have ever seen in a film – do you know he got the role quite by accident when he walked into the auditions looking for a bike pump? – and even when he wasn’t speaking (shouting), he was absolutely gripping.
I was intrigued because the film started out with a young offender’s – Roth – appearance in court. He was sent to an ‘assessment centre’, and I assumed that we were going to see a tired and predictable tale of redemption and rehabilitation. Oh, how wrong I was. ‘Trevor’ was relentless in his deviance and defiance the entire way through the film, and used every opportunity to subvert the system. He was rude, violent, contemptible, and terrifying; but I developed an affection for him immediately. This wasn’t because he was so clearly troubled, but because I couldn’t help but admire his absolute defiance of everything that we ‘normal’ people subscribe to. He didn’t care, but he vehemently cared about not caring, and I was very drawn to that quality to him. His confidence in himself and his views (however vile we perceive them) was astounding, and he was absolutely unapologetic about who he was.
His life was clearly doomed to prison, and a career of crime, but he completely embraced it because he had found where he believed he belonged in the world in ways some of us never will. I wouldn’t want to be him – no one would, frankly – but in his own very strange and upsetting way, he had it all totally sorted.