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Bolan's Shoes - Marc Bolan themed drama with a trauma writ large

So the 1970’s were halcyon days for kids –  enormous lengthy summer holidays, innocent ,care free and idyllic days with nothing to worry about except ending up at a studio recording of Top of the Pops when Gary Glitter was performing and Jimmy Saville was hosting. But the undoubted star of the glam rock era was Marc Bolan whose life was tragically cut short in 1977 in a fatal car crash. And it’s a not dissimilar incident that starts Bolan’s Shoes as a coach load of school kids from a children’s home are returning from a T Rex gig with Sadie (who has pinched a pair of the star’s shoes hence the title) and her shy older brother Jimmy on board when tragedy hits and the coach crashes killing several.

Fast forward to the present and Penny (Leanne Best) is now married to a vicar (Mark Lewis Jones) and has never really got over the trauma of the accident that saw her friend Sadie killed.  The headstone that was erected as a tribute to Bolan at the site of the incident (which still stands today) is something of a pilgrimage for fans even all these decades and its whilst Penny is there that she encounters the balloon man, one of those entertainers that dresses like a smash and grab at a charity shop and blows bubbles (not in a Michael Jackson way) at the site. The balloon man is Jimmy (Timothy Spall) gaunt and still haunted by memories of that day and suffers regular seizures.

Both Penny and Jimmy are fragile souls never having really got over the shock and they reconnect and rekindle their friendship that ultimately leads to a shocking revelation in a heart breaking monologue.

Written and directed by Ian Puleston-Davies himself an actor with a prolific number of credits and perhaps best known for his stint on Coronation Street but here he has cast well with Leanne Best turning in another great performance. She’s ably supported by Spall and though his appearance here would suggest he was ideal casting should they ever make that other glam rock film, ‘Slade : The Dave Hill story’. His role here could easily have fallen into a series of showy character tics but is admirably restrained and is all the more convincing for it and he does get one of the films best throwaway lines about Bristol and slavery. There’s also a decent cameo from Mathew Horne playing against type and a reminder that he always deserved better that playing sidekick to James Corden.

It is a little slow in places and its initially a little confusing but soon, through flashbacks,it becomes clear and Bolan’s Shoes has decent performance and story revelations to keep audiences involved.

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We spoke to actor, writer and director Ian Puleston-Davies about the making of the film a and why Marc Bolan?…

Here’s the Bolan’s Shoes trailer…..


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