As a huge Jude Law fan, I was interested to check out this British curiosity from 1994. It's a strange film representing disenfranchised youths which is part action mayhem with slight undertones of sci-fi. "Shopping" is, perhaps, what one would call a great example of style over substance. The "near future" setting creates an interesting visual mood, the soundtrack is propulsive, the camera work is stylized, and the leads are certainly attractive. Better at evoking an ambience than telling a story, "Shopping" tends to divide audiences. As a love it or hate it proposition, however, I fall somewhat in the middle. There tends to be little in actual character development and, thus, our principles can appear quite unlikable--but for those that like fast cars and loud wrecks, there is much to recommend "Shopping."
Law, with Sadie Frost (prior to their marriage and subsequent divorce), plays part of a gang of teens who for sport steal cars, joyride, and for that extra thrill--smash the cars through plate glass windows! Then they trash the places they've crashed into--really a charming hobby. There is an anarchy to the bunch, a nihilism, a selfishness. While I think the film wants us to ascribe a deeper socio-political meaning to their acts of rebellion--in truth, they just come off as a bunch of criminal brats. Anyone who has a different purpose, aside from meandering through the chaos, is instantly positioned as a villain whether it's Jonathan Pryce as a policeman trying to help straighten the kids out or Sean Pertwee as a cohort who might turn into a real gangster. Of course, everything boils down to a final job and a final confrontation but the ending may leave some wanting.
"Shopping" does have a certain appeal, but it lacks a strong screenplay or thru-line. I enjoyed it well enough once, but I'd probably not watch it again. I was mainly interested in the actors and the "Blade Runner" visuals. With so many films of a similar nature available, I'm not sure whether "Shopping" is distinctive enough or solid enough to be accepted as a noteworthy new DVD for modern viewers (especially younger ones that will lack a certain nostalgia factor). If it sounds like your thing, you'll probably like "Shopping." A curiosity, at best, the film lacks the focus or conviction to make it truly great. But it's always good to see Sean Bean (a gangster, of course). KGHarris, 1/11.