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Indie Movie Review – Bolan’s Shoes

Read Time:4 Minute, 26 Second

I find that films make more of a connection when there is something to connect them to you. I know that sounds laughably trite and obvious but bear with me. If you see a film and it is set in a place that you know very well you will probably feel close to it. It could be either because you feel an affinity with the place or you just start playing the “I’ve been there” game. Similarly, if a film is set in a time period that has particular resonance for you, usually your teenage years, then you start to see and hear things that remind you of your youth. Also, if a film features an actor that is one of your favourites then you tend to cut it an enormous amount of slack.

For me Bolan’s Shoes had a bit of everything! It is set partly in Liverpool, across the Mersey from where I live while the majority of the rest of the film is set on Anglesey where I’ve had many enjoyable holidays and days out. To wrap it up there are a few scenes shot around the Marc Bolan shrine. It hadn’t been put up when I was last there but I had friends who lived in Barnes and had many drunken evenings there in my early twenties. Also, parts are filmed in Port Sunlight which is where I learnt to swim! Talking chronologically, the opening section is set in the mid seventies which is the period when I was at my peak. Just off to college, young, slim, and full of promise. I was a real catch!

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So Wise Up The Lot Of Yers

Then there is the case of “if a film features an actor that is one of your favourites”. I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that Timothy Spall is a definite favourite of mine. Two days ago I saw him playing a desperately misogynistic, outdated, and spiteful old man in Wicked Little Letters. Today I saw him playing a mild and gentle man with a deeply damaged past. I suppose there could be an argument that both characters came from damaged pasts; Edwin Swan was damaged by WWI while Jimmy was damaged by the events depicted at the start of Bolan’s Shoes. The two characters could hardly be more different but the ever versatile Mr Spall just fell into the different parts. He is, undoubtedly, one of this countries greatest actors.

The other lead is Leanne Best who I have seen in many things from Star Wars: VII – The Force Awakens to Ted Lasso. And, in the spirit of connections, Ms Best studied at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and I once applied for a job there! Admittedly, she actually studied there while I only got as far as dropping an envelope off in the admin office but I like to think it brings us a little closer together. But perhaps the closest connection I have is with Louis Emerick who plays Simon. I won’t say that I’ve been introduced but I have spoken to him…twice! I think he lives near me and I’ve bumped into him in the shops a couple of times. Next time I’m going to pluck up my courage and ask him for a RunPee interview.

All Right To Stop At The Chippy On The Way Back Driver?

The final connection is with the eponymous Mr Bolan. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a mega-fan of Marc Bolan or T. Rex. I did have a copy of Ride A White Swan but none of the other singles. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the rest of Mr Bolan’s output just that my tastes changed and I developed an obsession with prog rock which abides to this day. One episode stands out though. I remember reading an interview in a music paper when Marc Bolan was asked where he got his hair cut. He said that he cut his own hair and I thought I’d have a go. The thing was that Mr Bolan’s hair was bouncy ringlets which you could reliably cut with a hedge trimmer. Mine was straight and boring. It took hours in a hairdresser’s chair and a month’s pocket money before I could leave the house again.

All in all, Bolan’s Shoes is an entertaining film particularly if you like the music of T. Rex. It is also, by turns, an entertaining, amusing, and dramatic film. It’s hard to say too much because of spoilers. But, much like Mr Bolan himself, it’s a story which has its course irrevocably altered by a road traffic accident. In this case the affected ones are a group of Bolan fans from a Liverpool children’s home. One other thing which I feel should be noted is that I’m positive that Bolan’s Shoes is an honest and heartfelt tribute to Marc Bolan. Why? Well, The opening credits list a certain Rolan Bolan as one of the producers. If you haven’t already guessed, Rolan is the son of Marc.

Bolan’s Shoes is available for digital download from 18th March 2024.

Movie Grade: A

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