small time obsession

small time obsession reviews

video and DVD
long synopsis
production story

polish community

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"Who would have thought it possible – a British gangster film which is not only watchable but quite entertaining as well. Surprisingly, the DVD also includes some fairly interesting additional features including the original theatrical trailer, an extensive behind the scenes featurette which is far better than the usual piece of promo fluff you usually come across on Hollywood product, cast and crew bio/filmographies, production notes, information on locations and the Polish community, and a collection of reviews. Not a bad collection by anyone’s standards."
Total DVD, June 2001 – 7 out of 10

"Highly capable, well-made. Szkopiak's direction is excellent, as is his script, and the young British cast lend the whole thing a highly credible air.

Other features of the DVD reviewed -
The Trailer - Like how a trailer for an independent British crime flick should look. Slick, dependable and not too fancy.
Behind the Obsession - Excellent Making of..., looking at the effort of taking micro-budget films to the screen.
The Polish community - Text based. A fascinating account of the Polish community in London."
What DVD April 2001 - 4 stars out of 5

"The menu screen features snatches of the film's haunting/haunted score - perfectly setting the tone. Besides the 'Play Movie' option and the 'Scene Select' (23 chapters all with self-explanatory titles such as 'The Chase', 'The Fight', etc.), there are also a number of 'Extra features'.

"The 'Extras' include the theatrical trailer, thorough text-based cast and crew biographies, details of the production, locations and history of the Polish community in England and a selection of reviews from the likes of NME and The Guardian. So far, so text based.

"Lifting the 'Extras' above the wordy is a great little documentary called 'Behind the Obsession'. It includes plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and some intelligent and revealing talking-heads from the main players (both from behind and in front of the camera). The documentary runs to less than 15 minutes, but manages to pack in more thought and information than most DVD 'featurettes', which more often than not are fluffed out with the kind of EPK material that a Gail Porter show would reject."

The DVD puts some studio releases to shame. A 15-minute documentary - 'Behind The Obsession' - is a fascinating look at the problems faced with releasing a low-budget pic in this country.

DVD Fever - 3 stars out of 5


"Sharp, offbeat drama."
Film Review,
Feb 2001, Rental video - 3.5 stars out of 5

"A good example of how video can help to rescue films that get lost in the system is this raw, youthful and very low-budget film, written, directed and produced by a first-generation south London Pole, Piotr Szkopiak. Concentrating on a small, intelligently differentiated group of friends, it refuses to be held down by its (probably reluctant) crime classification. Despite the Ulster psychos and the Geordie hard men, the focus is always on the young men and women, their rites of passage and cultural and romantic attachments, shown with delicacy, compassion and genuine understanding of the terrain. Alex King and Juliette Caton are actors to watch."
The Sunday Times, Rental video - 3 stars out of 5

"Not all of Lahndun’s crimes are as spectacular as a botched heist at the Dome. And not all low-budget films that set questions of loyalty against a backdrop of criminal wannabes are up there with Mean Streets. But what Martin Scorsese did for New York’s Italian-Americans, Piotr Szkopiak does for South London’s Polish community.
The real focus of the story isn’t so much the increasingly dangerous underworld contacts of Chris and Michael, but the relationships that bind them all together. That’s why Small Time Obsession, while dipping a toe in the same Brit Crime waters as so many of this year’s poor crop, has an emotional core that the rest can’t even get close to. A solid debut with flashes of style."
Total Film Feb 2001, Rental video - 3 stars out of 5

"The young cast is excellent. The scripting and direction by new talent Piotr Szkopiak keeps you glued to the screen."

"Excellent thriller."


…a promising debut from writer-director Piotr Szkopiak…put on watch for future assignments."

"Quite the best movie I've seen in a while is Small Time Obsession, the modest, but perfectly formed, debut feature from writer/director Piotr Szkopiak. Highly engrossing, well acted, ultimately moving and engagingly set in the Polish community of South London...a miniature gem."
Film Review Magazine - 3 stars out of 5

"Lock Stock was the fantasy...this is the reality."
Film Review Annual

"Likeable Brit crime thriller. A promising debut by Szkopiak and there's a strong cast of impressive young British talent."
Uncut July 2000 - 3 stars out of 5

"... a gritty and realistic coming of age drama set in the badlands of south London. Quite affecting and sensitive, it's the handling of issues of loyalty, community and pride within the sprawling metropolis that is the film's success. All this, and not an Armani suit or Jaguar XJ6 in sight."
NME June 2000 - 7 out of 10

'Metro' The Times, June 2000 - 3 stars out of 5

The Evening Standard, June 2000 - 3 stars out of 5

"…it is Szkopiak’s authentic rendering of south London’s Polish community which gives the film its emotive resonance as well as some vodka-quaffing cool."
Jockey Slut June 2000

"…the film throws up a talented new face in Alex King."
TV Times

"Must-see moment: Take your pick from anything involving the parents."
Flicks July 2000

"An ambitious debut feature from a home-grown talent trying to keep it real from the seamy side of south London."
Hotdog July 2000

"Nothing small time about this movie. With gangster movies now ten a penny, Small Time Obsession offers a refreshing change to the glamourised 'ard man of late. Capturing the essence of south London, it shows the grit and harsh reality of life through the eyes of a small Polish community living here. Filmed in and around South London, much of the credit must go to writer, producer and director Piotr Szkopiak who's local knowledge and status as a first generation Pole makes this a very insightful and personal film. At times it is so true to life it's scary."
South London Press

"The Polish community is an engagingly different milieu, the intimacy of long-standing friendships is nicely evoked and the young cast acquit themselves well."
Empire, July 2000

" authentic depiction of friendship and of a particular Polish community." BBC Online

"Small Time Obsession is a challenging film that showcases a host of new British up-and-coming talent."


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