Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast
Created using a clever combination of archival and recent footage, along with interviews with not only his family and friends, but with the man himself, this feature-length political documentary aims to explore every aspect of Dennis Skinner’s life.
From the get-go, director and writer Daniel Draper shows a softer side to this well-established MP, having him walk through his favourite London park, talking about the flowers. This film is as much about “Nature” as it is about “The Beast”, as Skinner is a lover of the outdoors, recounting trips to the countryside when he was a boy and competing with his siblings over who was the best tree-climber. Interviews with his four surviving brothers enhance this intimate approach, as we learn of the poverty that Dennis grew up in and his close connection to the mine workers, all things that motivated him to give them a voice.
The subject himself shares many anecdotes throughout the documentary, even sharing his personal career highlights and touching stories about his late mother. These recollections, interspersed with beautiful scenic shots of bright flowers and country hills, make for a truly stunning piece.
The use of authentic footage throughout not only emphasises the key successes of the MP’s career, including his work with the National Union of Mineworkers and his taking down of Powell’s bill to ban stem cell research, but also reminds us of the huge political struggles that have occurred in the last 50 years.
In short, the film provides an interesting look at what made this man who he is, which is a brilliant socialist Labour MP, who is not afraid to speak his mind. He never set out to become a member of parliament, but his striving to obtain rights for those who had none led him there, and he treats his role as a full-time job, never compromising, never backing down. It’s a fascinating piece in which we learn about the man, as well as the “Beast”.
Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast is released in selected cinemas on 8th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast here.