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Late Night Shopping (2000, Luke de Woolfson, James Lance)

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In a no-name British city, four friends meet after the end of another night shift. Sean (Luke de Woolfson) works as a hospital porter; Vincent (James Lance) stacks shelves; Lenny (Enzo Cilenti) toils at a call-centre; and Jody (Kate Ashfield) is an assembly line worker.

Having split from his girlfriend Madeline, Sean’s on the prowl again. A chance meeting with a visitor gives him the perfect chance for causal sex, but he cannot shake the memories of his old relationship. Madeline (Heike Makatsch) has, in the interim, been picked up by Vincent. He soon realises who she is, but sleeps with her anyway. Later, he shifts his attentions to Gail, unaware that Neil is after her. After a co-worker’s heart attack, Vincent visits the hospital and bumps into Sean, who realises his betrayal. They fight, and Sean vows to track down his ex-lover and fix everything…

‘We wanted to make a film that was different to the other British films… and something we’d both go and see,’ says Saul Metzstein. Judging by critical reaction to his debut project (‘This could be a bad week for Brit-sceptics’ – The Observer), he succeeded. It’s a slight tale, make no mistake, but told with heart, passion and laughter, it’s a triumph too. The cast move beyond their characters almost instantly, with The Book Club’ s James Lance and The War Zone’ s Kate Ashfield meriting special mention.

Comparisons with Trainspotting are inevitable, and that’s no coincidence: Metzstein was a runner for Danny Boyle on both that film and Shallow Grave and learnt his craft from the bottom up. As a result there’s obvious sympathy for the soulless jobs of the foursome, and an eye for the bleak vistas (captured by Billy Elliott lenser Brian Tufano) that they never quite seem to escape.

production details
UK | 91 minutes | 2001

Director: Saul Metzstein
Script: Jack Lothian,

cast
Luke de Woolfson as Sean
James Lance as Vincent
Kate Ashfield as Jody
Heike Makatsch as Madeline
Enzo Cilenti as Lenny
Shauna Macdonald as Gail
Sienna Guillory as Susie

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