The Scouting Book For Boys DVD review

This Is England’s Thomas Turgoose stars in The Scouting Book For Boys, a coming-of-age drama from the pen of Shameless and Skins writer Jack Thorne. Here’s Dave’s review…

When David (Thomas Turgoose) discovers that his best (and only) friend Emily (Holliday Grainger) is being forced to leave their holiday camp home, he feels that his world has been torn apart after six years of happiness that has seen the two messing around in the idyllic setting of a Norfolk caravan park.

Emily decides that the only option she’s got is to run away and, aided by David, she hides in caves near the beach whilst her mother (Susan Lynch) tries to find her, eventually coming to the conclusion that she has been abducted by park security guard Steve (Rafe Spall). With the police now involved, things are spinning out of control for David, caught at the heart of proceedings and trusted by everyone around him.

As he’s torn between doing the right thing for Emily and the right thing for his community, Emily reveals a truth that shocks him.  He also has to deal with the ambitions of Inspector Kertzer (Steven Mackintosh), the actions of Steve, and the mounting tensions in the holiday camp. David is overwhelmed by responsibility and emotion and, seeing no way out of their dilemma, he takes drastic, dangerous action to bring things to a head.

Neither of these teenagers is concerned with the distant future. Emily is impulsive and troublesome, whilst David is easily lead, despite being more considered in his actions. They don’t look at the effect that running away will have on their families or others, and are more concerned with what they are doing right now than consequences. 

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In the end, David instigates a number of events that will destroy more than one life, though the effect isn’t explored here, leaving the viewer to contemplate the brutal and heartless transition that he takes from childhood to adulthood.

Jack Thorne (of Shameless and Skins fame) has turned in a fantastic script, bristling with realism. From an inane conversation about sheep hunting to the moment where Emily tells David the truth, the dialogue is honest and sharp, without every trying to be cool.

Turgoose is a real screen presence, proving that his performance in This Is England wasn’t a fluke and that there’s more to come from a real talent. Holliday Grainger is fiery as Emily, going from nice as pie to quite vicious at the drop of a hat. When her life is threatened, it’s impossible not to hold your breath as she pleads for help.

The cinematography reveals the beauty of Norfolk, from the coastline to the lush greenery that surrounds the area. The camera captures the unrequited love of David towards Emily with equal deftness as it captures the countryside. As the pair run across the top of caravans, you get caught up in the freedom that they both have and, later in the caves, there’s unspoken intimacy that is heartbreaking to see.

With an exceptional script and stunning scenery, this is a refreshing ‘coming of age’ film in which there are no moments of sickly sweetness, but many moments of heartfelt honesty.  The film belongs to Turgoose, who captures emotions beautifully, giving a captivating performance that will leave you wanting more.


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Four deleted scenes offer more character develop and mishaps, including a brilliantly played scene between Turgoose and Steven Mackintosh as Inspector Kertzer.

There’s a series of outtakes from a deleted scene, with Turgoose attempting to crack the scene, and the theatrical trailer.

Criminally, the DVD doesn’t include any commentary track, ‘making of’ feature, audition footage, or anything that would have added to this otherwise impressive DVD.


4 stars

The Scouting Book For Boys is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.


4 out of 5