Lost in the Heap: An Honest Review of ‘Scrapper’

It is with a heavy heart that I pen this review for Charlotte Regan’s debut feature ‘Scrapper‘. The British comedy-drama, which swiftly seized the Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, seemed promising. Unfortunately, the silver screen retelling left me, and other audience members, searching for a lost cause.

So what went wrong?

The narrative trudges forth at a pace that lacks the required verve for a film of its genre. Agonisingly sluggish, you are left feeling more like the ‘scrapper’ looking for valuable elements amongst the cinema’s discarded snacks than an active participant in the narrative journey. I don’t disdain unhurried plots as an inherent flaw, but they must compensate with either a fascinating setting or engaging characters. Alas, ‘Scrapper’ offered neither.

The lead actors, Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell and Alin Uzun, are undoubtedly talented. However, this film didn’t offer them enough room to exploit their full potential. They waded through the lethargic pace like heroes, but the lack of screen magnetism and emotional impact were glaring.

‘Scrapper’s’ biggest drawback? Its atmosphere, or rather the absence of it. Drama thrives on tension, intrigue and palpable excitement; comedy, on wit and timing. Yet, there was a distinctly lukewarm air that enveloped ‘Scrapper’. There was no electric charge, no infectious laughter, no dramatic heart-stopping moment. The spider scene was, regrettably, the point where my personal interest waned to the extent that I chose to make my exit.

Let the records show that it’s not all gloom here…

Regan’s direction shows promise, and with a better-suited script she is sure to dazzle in the future. Her shots are stylized and she seems willing to challenge common narratives. Dickinson, Campbell, and Uzun showcased their talent, making it clear that they hold a bright future in the industry.

While, ‘Scrapper’ may not have been to my taste, I believe in the diversity of movie palates. Some viewers may enjoy Regan’s unhurried storytelling, and her nuance of character development. However, for those in search of a traditional comedy-drama, brimming with spirit and vibrancy, ‘Scrapper’ might just come up a scrap short.