Review: If… / Certi: 15 / Director: Lindsay Anderson / Screenplay: David Sherwin / Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noon / Release Date: 9th June
If… is a beautifully crafted, if not often shocking, British classic. Set in a traditional boys’ boarding school, the story centres on Mick Travis (McDowall) and two of his pals as they look to rebel against the status quo of pompous, callous prefects and blasé teachers who regurgitate the same, sterile tripe year after year. The charismatic Travis wishes to stage a revolution, and his impassioned uprising pushes things forward towards a chilling, impactful climax.
Anderson’s film, his first in a trilogy of Mick Travis-centred efforts, is full of stiff upper lips, razor-sharp side-partings, epic sideburns, and sticking it to the man. The film often plays in a surreal, trippy way, switching to black and white at a moment’s notice, then flipping back to colour. We’re shown a world that is regimented by cold showers and, as one of the film’s dastardly prefects states, homosexual flirtatiousness. Part social commentary, part black comedy, but all entertainment, If… can’t help but grab your attention from the get-go. And from there on out, the film doesn’t let you go until it’s finished with you.
For the full review, head over to Starburst Magazine.