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Movie Review: Still The Enemy Within (15)

Graham Young reviews Still The Enemy Within

Still The Enemy Within (15)
****

The 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike is proving fertile cinematic territory with the comedy drama Pride (15) still on release.

Ex-miners articulating their thoughts add different emotional values to Still The Enemy Within, a title which references the thoughts of the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Director Owen Gower’s documentary rides heavily on the ‘them and us’ mentality which caused such an earthquake in British industrial relations.

The story begins with ex-miner Paul Symonds – a long-haired doppelgänger of Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt – lamenting the closure of Frickley Colliery, now a country park with wild grasses.

Soon we are thrown head first into the sheer brutality of a dispute which cost lives (including three children scavenging for coal) and ended up with the collapse of an industry which once fuelled the nation.

It would have been nice to see Arthur Scargill defending his actions retrospectively on the back of his subsequent lifestyle in an expensive, union-funded Barbican flat in London.

Packed with brilliant archive footage, Still The Enemy Within will send blood pressures rising again.

But it doesn’t really address what might have happened if the miners had had a more moderate leadership – or why anyone today would still want to be working like a mole in such dangerous conditions.

For a full list of special screenings around the country visit www.the-enemy-within.org.uk

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