Esteemed film critic Chris Hewitt’s introduction to Warp Films’ gorgeous new book/DVD set WarpFilms10 cautiously references the often overused buzz phrase ‘current economic climate’. The context here, though, is more than tangentially relevant.
The fact is, creative industries like film and music are on the decline, in no small part due to the simple truth that there isn’t that much money floating about. Warp Films, a rare British success story, are an anomaly in that respect, and this retrospective showcases every short film, music video and feature length movie the company has produced over the astonishing 10 years of its existence.
The weighty tome is brimming with stills and memorabilia from the numerous modern classics Warp has produced in that time, alongside a collection of 10 DVDs. The product itself is exceptional: sleek, immaculately designed and reassuringly high-quality, all neatly packaged in a clear blue case that somehow oozes the Warp brand. Inside we find pages of fascinating commentary and images. The DVDs offer the full scope of Warp’s output, with more controversial efforts like Snowtown, hauntingly affecting tales of grim reality like Tyrannosaur and This Is England, and some refreshing levity from Submarine, a charming tale of Welsh adolescence in all its glory.
Any Warp enthusiast will find this luxurious book both wistful and fascinating, a journey into the background and nuances of one of the UK’s most successful and forward thinking production companies. The book is a celebratory document of their many achievements, while the films themselves are further proof that their financial success lies in the quality of their products.
If you’re not already a Warp Films fan, this is easily the best place to start. Their films belie the myth that British film can’t compete with Hollywood; acclaimed British director Shane Meadow’s Dead Man’s Shoes, for example, is a thrilling, beautifully crafted revenge story which builds tension along gritty cinematography in a way which compares favourably to any of its American counterparts. On top of that, having this slab of hardback art on your coffee table will do untold things for your credibility points at those post-Christmas evening soirees.
Warp Ten is published by Warp Films and is available to buy here.
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Words: Billy Black