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Was the snooker movie Break – a breakthrough?

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a…snooker player…

SamGittens
De ja vu? The Crucible used in a snooker film? Cliche on high…

If the snooker film Break was a Martin Scorsese style flick, it would have probably started with those very lines.

Break

In Goodfellas, 1990, we open with that very defined goal from the voice over of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), as he introduces us to his life as one of America’s notorious criminals and how he became a member of the mob.

However, in the Break film, we open with a voice-over – as the main character Spencer Pryde (played brilliantly by Sam Gittins) an inner-city kid who has a talent for snooker, waffles on about wasted talent and making the most of it. But what we don’t get is a clearly defined goal of what he’s there for.

That’s the first question we ask as an audience, what does this character want out of his life? This was still puzzling, even at the end of the film. Did he REALLY want to be a snooker player?

One big cliche…

As the film progresses, we realize that Spencer is a typical product of inner-city UK life. He comes from humble surroundings on a council estate. He hasn’t got a job, and he smokes dope and owes money to drug dealers.

His father is released from prison (another cliche), and he wants to atone for his own sins by setting his son on the straight and narrow by enticing him to do something with his life – play snooker. Spence has been hanging around the snooker club and is apparently quite good.

Throughout the film, the story felt rather cliched and predictable. We do get the delightful and colourful transition of the contrast between the decaying urbanity of inner-city UK and the vibrant colourful exotic lights of China – a place where snooker is a hotbed – an obssession.

Again, the cliche. Inner-city UK kid comes good. It just so happens it’s snooker that does it for him. It could have been Karate. It could have been fly-fishing. It could have been tiddlywinks. But it was snooker.

We were somehow expecting when watching that Spencer was going to have that lightbulb moment and think to himself, “yes, I wanna play snooker and play professionally, REALLY.”

But we didn’t.

Playing snooker for him was just a means to an end.

There’s a subtle twist in the film which stops you in your tracks and makes you think “this isn’t a bad film, ACTUALLY.”

However, when that plot point is dealt with, the film descends back into typical cliche.

Spencer plays in the tournament in China. He has that brief moment where he doubts his own ability and storms out during a match. He’s enticed back into it because, in all honesty, he has to be there because he needs to pay back drug money he owes.

And then we get the typical revival. Spencer plays out of his skin and wins the tournament. And that is that.

And guess what, the ending? 

Well, considering the BBC stupidly revealed the ending in a feature during the World Championship a few weeks ago, SnookerZone may as well reveal it.

A Crafty Line?

KenDoherty

Spencer ends up standing beside none other than the 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, who utters his cameo lines…

“Good luck, Spencer, you’re going to need it.”

And there we have it. The cliche ending.

Bad boy comes good and gets to fulfill a dream.

Only, it wasn’t REALLY a lifelong dream of his to walkout at the Crucible. He almost stumbled there.

We guess the point of the film is simple. If you’ve got talent, don’t waste it. And talent can be hidden in the unlikeliest of places.

Some of us just never find it.

As snooker’s first proper film, it was a disappointment. Not only because the story was one big cliche. But because it also felt a bit wooden in places. Snooker films still haven’t grown out of those teenage years yet. They’re still maturing.

Granted. The acting from Sam Gittins was great. The deceased Rutger Hauer, in which the film was his last, owned the screen with his mini menacing performance as Ray. But some other acting was just…wooden.

Snooker players have never really been great actors either.

As a BIG snooker fan, SnookerZone couldn’t help but feel the ending could have been so much better than it was. Too predictable and NOT very memorable – as a film ending for a snooker film. Forgettable.

For SnookerZone, the litmus test for whether a film is going to stay in his collection is simple: How good is the ending? We love film endings. Not only do we appreciate snooker, we appreciate films.

And despite our snooker roots, this film won’t be coming out for a while – if only for a sneaky glance now and then.

It’s up to you if you want to risk two hours just to see The Crucible on screen.

We live in hope in the universe that sometime, someone comes up with a more inspiring snooker flick.

Break is out on DVD now.

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Snooker’s Big New Movie Break – “Rocky Style”…

New Break Film Quote: Remember, “Talent is a gift, don’t waste it…”

 

Break

And from the 1976 film Rocky, we had this line from the character Mickey describing boxer Rocky’s “wasted” talent…

From IMDB quote: “OK, I’m gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a leg breaker to some cheap, second-rate loan shark!”

TheCrucible
The Crucible has been home to some talented real-life snooker stars…

In snooker flicks…

The plots are often about revenge, or the desire to break free away from something, or someone. The central character has an issue either struggling with his identity in the world, or with another.

Conflicts.

The new film Break will get its premiere release on the 22nd July in London and will air in Sheffield, the home of snooker at a drive-in as the first film to premiere at a drive-in.

 

Break

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak – the film’s release, which was due at the launch of the World Snooker Championships in April is now landing later on in the summer.

The DVD release is due in end of August.

Gangs. Knife crime. And drug violence all entwines into this new independent Brit flick, which has appearances by snooker stars such as Jack Lisowski, 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty, and Chinese star Liang Wenbo.

All stars in their own right.

This new snooker flick follows a troubled but talented young character Spencer Pryde (Sam Gittens), struggling to find himself in a world where he has been sucked into a life of crime and violence – but – a chance encounter with a Chinese pool player Vince Qlang and a club owner Ray mean Spencer has the chance to turn his life around. Actor Rutger Hauer starred in his last screen role before he died. But can the young gifted talent Spencer, break away from his current struggles and make good?

The new Break film has been described as “Rocky with a snooker cue…”

 

Snooker has produced very few films.

The Rack Pack…

A kind of docu-film on the life of Alex Higgins and snooker in the 1980s, is the most famous and came to fame a few years ago, and sought to entice a new audience to fall in love with snooker through learning about the controversial characters and personalities of yesteryear – especially the Hurricane.

Did it succeed?

[bctt tweet=”Break looks to be a raw Brit film, a bit like the films of Sexy Beast-cum-This is England. Gritty. Emotional. And tense.” username=”chrisgaynor2″]

On the Warrior Film Productions site it’s described as “Rocky with a snooker cue” and has that British stereotypical feel about it. It has the typical rags to riches theme with a British independent twist to it.

Terri Dwyer, the film’s producer wrote on her blog: “It’s the first feature film I’ve produced and I also have the pleasure of starring in it with a ridiculously talented cast and crew.”

Added on what made her want to be involved in the project, she said: “Well, something fell through and I found myself picking the script up the next day and I couldn’t put it down! I called him straight back and said ‘I Love it!’ We’ve been firm friends and business partners since. It wasn’t long after that moment that he asked me to produce it.

“The first thing I did was bring on board Dean Fisher. I’ve known Dean for 20 years and knew he’d teach me and not just produce it and let me watch. I’ve learnt a huge amount from him and Michael and I have every faith that Break will be the success it deserves to be.”

Your favourite snooker stars who’ve appeared and will appear on-screen…

 

Jack Lisowski
The young talent Jack Lisowski will make an on-screen appearance in Break…

Snooker players are no stranger to screen appearances. The people’s Champion Jimmy White and John Virgo starred in a comedy film Perfect Break in 2016, where the ten times ranking event winner and six-times World finalist starred as the ‘host’ of an amateur snooker event, the Jimmy White invitational.

Perfect Break…

What if you found out you had been conned out of a major title?

The central character Bobby Stevens (Joe Rainbow) had to face his demons and his nemesis Ray Carter (TJ Herbert) in a revenge match. (Ironically, TJ Herbert, the star of Perfect Break, also stars in Break as DCI Bly).

Ironic.

In Perfect Break, their previous televised championship match some years earlier had been supposedly fixed by a very manipulating girlfriend, who possessed “hypnotic” powers.

Bobby comes good both on the baize and off and falls for another girl, Kate, and the matchmaking “annoying” daughter Sophie.

Perfect Break

Snooker and its rawness on the screen…

Those involved in snooker films have always tried to bring rawness and a down to earthiness of the characters and worlds the characters portray. In Perfect Break, for example, Bobby has confidence issues but is just a normal guy trying to make an honest crust from something he loves, until his world is destroyed by a selfish and manipulative money-grabbing girlfriend.

Watch the trailer for Break below…

In the new film Break, the key slogan is “talent is a gift, don’t waste it.” This is a key theme running throughout past snooker films.

Wasted talent.

In the docu-film The Rat Pack, the talented Hurricane Alex Higgins was portrayed as having all the talent, but wasting it on drink and more.

In Perfect Break, Bobby makes the most of his talent by getting revenge on Carter in the Jimmy White amateur tournament final.

Break will be released on DVD in August and is available on Pre Order or Amazon Prime…

You can also watch Jimmy White in Perfect Break too.

Check out Prime Video below now…