Weekend TV Reviews – First Cut: Young, Angry and White

by Lynn Connolly

This film by Peter Beard – his first attempt at directing I understand – featured Kieren, a 19 year old whose anger at the world in general has been give a focus, and that is, in a word, foreigners or in another word, immigration.

The documentary followed him as he decided whether he was going to join the ever expanding ranks of the BNP, however, he ended up not doing so because their views and stances simply aren’t radical enough for him.

Apparently, 1 in 20 young people in this country support the BNP, either by joining them or voting for them or otherwise agreeing with their views, which is quite frightening. But Kieren was disappointed in leader Nick Griffin accepting that he must throw open BNP doors to people of all races and colours, lest he face a fine for breaking laws designed to curb racism.

Kieren seemed to have latched onto Griffin as some kind of idealistic father figure, and though I felt Beard’s attempts at poking about among the Freudian possibilities within Kieren’s persona were at times a tad heavy handed, he may well have been hitting the nail pretty near its head when he proffered that Kieren’s childhood demons were to blame for his fanaticism.

His parents divorced when he was a baby and it seems his mum had had subsequent relationships that were less than perfect. Kieren has witnessed a fair amount of violence too, so is it simply that Kieren is looking for an organisation that legitimises the use of violence – albeit that that’s unspoken and publically denied – as an ‘out’ for his own anger?

Maybe so, but it doesn’t mean that we can excuse his fascist ideals. His views about “our women fraternising with other races” were shockingly Dickensian. That sentence alone was wrong in about a million ways; his apparent view that women are commodities to be owned for one and “other races” for another; are we not all the human race?

A good deal more similarly archaic and downright insulting ideology followed, but I won’t bother giving it space.

So did Beard come to any firm conclusions about why a boy who’s part of a moderate and tolerant family has adopted such far right politics? I think he felt that the answer was in the aforementioned Freudian issues that I don’t doubt do affect Kieren, but they’re too simplistic…

I think the answer is more complex than that and it would take a very long time to get to the root of. Far more time than First Cut could offer, but that this was a fascinating if uncomfortable watch is without doubt, and I hope we get to see more of Beard’s work.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.