Restless Natives

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Restless Natives
Restless natives poster.jpg
Film Poster
Directed byMichael Hoffman
Produced byRick Stevenson
Andy Paterson
Mark Bentley
Written byNinian Dunnett
StarringVincent Friell
Joe Mullaney
Music byStuart Adamson
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Production
company
Distributed byThorn EMI Screen Entertainment
Orion Classics
Release date
  • June 1985 (1985-06) (UK)
  • 12 September 1986 (1986-09-12) (USA)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryScotland
LanguageEnglish
Budget£1.2 million[1]
Box office£300,000[1]

Restless Natives is a 1985 Scottish cinema adventure comedy, directed by Michael Hoffman.

Plot[edit]

The story follows the adventures of two Scottish youths from the Wester Hailes district of Edinburgh, played by Vincent Friell and Joe Mullaney, who, in rebellion to their drab lives in urban Scotland in the mid-1980's become modern highwaymen. Donning masks of a clown and a wolf-man and riding a Honda CG125 motorbike, for a joke they waylay and hold up with a toy gun tourist coaches in the Highlands, in the process becoming a tourist attraction themselves. Having inadvertently acquired substantial amounts of money, they proceed to become modern Robin Hoods, doling it out to the poor of their city by scattering it on bike rides through its streets, attracting national media attention and pursuit by the police.[2][3]

Themes[edit]

'Restless Natives' - as suggested by its title - has underlying themes beyond its superficial presentation as a light social comedy film. It was produced at a time of high unemployment in the United Kingdom, with Scotland being particularly affected by post-industrial economic blight, and being governed from London by an Anglocentric radical political order that the Scottish people had collectively electorally rejected in the recent 1983 United Kingdom general election. The main storyline's premise reflected the frustration of mid-1980's Scottish working class youth, with limited life chances and economic prospects at home, breaking free of their constraint in the dispiriting confines of a grim cityscape of mid-20th Century Brutalist urban architecture, using the freedom facilitated by a motorcycle (in a tacit reference to a recent admonition from a British Government Minister to the millions of unemployed in the country to "get on their bikes" to find elusive jobs)[4] to escape into revitalizing open vistas of the landscape of the Scottish Highlands. The production was a part of a group of small-budget cinematic productions, along with titles such as Gregory's Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983), that brought stories of contemporary life in Scotland to a global cinema audience. The film was a commercial success on release in Scotland and acquired cult status, being regarded as a homemade expression of local Scottish cultural pride, becoming a minor media source of insurgent Scottish cultural identity, subliminally juxtaposed to Britishness, and feeding into the developing proto-Scottish Nationalist movement in the arts, with its soaring distinctive soundtrack from the band Big Country, whose music dealt with the same themes.[5]

Music score[edit]

The soundtrack features music from the band Big Country. This music was not released on an album but was combined into two lengthy tracks, each featuring various pieces of music and clips of actors from the film's audio, which appeared on limited edition formats of two Big Country 12" singles. It was released on CD for the first time on the 1998 Big Country collection 'Restless Natives & Rarities', where it is presented as a single 35-minute track.

Production[edit]

The screenplay won a film script writing competition held by Lloyds Bank before it was optioned for production.[6][7]

Reception[edit]

The film performed well at the box office in Scotland, but commercially failed in other markets.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Alexander Walker, Icons in the Fire: The Rise and Fall of Practically Everyone in the British Film Industry 1984-2000, Orion Books, 2005 p35
  2. ^ 'Our Top 10 Most Scottish Films, #7 Restless Natives,' 'The Scots Magazine', 4 March 2015. https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles//top-10-scottish-films-number-7/
  3. ^ 'Comical strivings in Restless Natives', 'The New York Times;, 12 September 1986. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/12/movies/film-comical-strivings-in-restless-natives.html
  4. ^ ;Restless Natives' trailer, published on Youtube, 26 August 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM9rUC18JFs
  5. ^ 'Cult Movie Column - Restless Natives', 'The Skinny' magazine, 15 July 2006. https://www.theskinny.co.uk/film/opinion/cult-movie-column-restless-natives
  6. ^ 'Cult Movie Column - Restless Natives', 'The Skinny' magazine, 15 July 2006. https://www.theskinny.co.uk/film/opinion/cult-movie-column-restless-natives
  7. ^ 'On the side of the Angels', Malcolm, Derek. The Guardian 27 June 1985.

External links[edit]