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Review: ToryBoy The Movie

How tough a job is it to try to stand against Middlesbrough’s current labour MP? Director John Walsh finds out for us in the political documentary ToryBoy, in which he takes it upon himself to hold accountable those who are supposed to be there for us. The result: a blunt exposé combined with a tinge of lightheartedness. 

John Walsh makes an incredible revelation in his documentary which portrays Sir Stuart Bell as an infamous, indifferent, and careless Member of Parliament, and more importantly; as one who has never held any regular constituency surgery in Middlesbrough for the past 15 years.

Walsh, born into a working class labour supporting family, aims for the North-East part of England at the general election of 2010. Against all odds, and in the labour heartland, he runs as a conservative candidate in opposition to Sir Stuart, and films the challenge with the aim of disclosing an exclusive insight into Britain’s political customs.

Satirical animation cleverly frames Britain in its political context, and the ironic, constant sound of unanswered phone calls in many scenes of the documentary gives John Walsh’s work a witty flair and depicts Sir Stuart as a sluggish absentee who is barely there for his locals.

Walsh also cunningly forges a relationship with his viewer: he gives the story a sympathetic angle, and reveals the sincere, genuine fears of running for candidacy and going through its hectic procedure. It is as though Walsh finds a subtle way to allow his viewer to relate to his stress, while toning down the tense moments later on with comic incidents, such as putting together a “glamorous suit” for candidacy interviews.

The fun goes on as Walsh amusingly holds at all times a picture of Sir Stuart’s face on a stick, and walks around Middlesbrough asking clueless locals who their member of parliament is.

Watch ToryBoy The Movie at the Greenwich Picturehouseon Thursday 15 March at 8.30pm, followed by a Q&A with director John Walsh. This screening is in aid of the “REunite! – Edward My Life” Campaign.


Written by

Ivana is a short film director and fiction screenwriter. Her influence mainly comes from Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema. She also enjoys avant-garde European films, and chose to study journalism as a means to become involved with investigative documentary filmmaking as well as film journalism. She is enthusiastic about reviewing documentary films for DocGeeks.

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6 Responses to "Review: ToryBoy The Movie"

  1. Manxstar says:

    The film is worth seeing, but as a “clueless local”, I confess I would happly have voted for a donkey if it was the Labour candidate. Bell is a useless MP, but the film spoils its main point by implying we are stupid for voting for him. We are not – we were electing a government, not a single MP. The impact of the Tory/Libdem coalition on Middlesbrough shows we were right to do so. A real Tory Boy – James Wharton – was elected in the neighbouring seat of Stockton South. Last week, he uged the Chancellor not to increase benefits by the rate of inflation. Thank God we didn’t elect another Tory Boy in Middlesbrough.

  2. Brandon says:

    In my book Walsh is border line genius to expose what’s going on here. Because of him Bell has been brought to book across the national press. I don’t see how Middlesbrough would fair any worse with him there than Bell. It’s an old Labour mantra to stick with the devil you know…………Middlesbrough is an example of what happens when good voters deicide to do nothing in the face of local corruption. Oscar please for Mr Walsh !! :)

  3. Val McKenzie says:

    Saw ToryBoy The Movie at Greenwich Picture House last night. I was well and truly gob smacked. I knew politicians were dodgy but this blew me away, I had to keep asking my date was this a massive sting on the audience, the truth was it wasn’t, which makes it all the more commendable and shocking. John Walsh gave a lively Q&A too, he’s too good for politics, and I want to see more films from him. It was sold out and deservedly so. Good work.

  4. Dave says:

    Great film, how can Middlesbrough go with a MP that clearly does not care one bit for its constituents?

    This film needs to be seen, how it is possible to get paid to do nothing and then get re-elected to do the same thing year after year.

    There is an immense talent in the director, who would have got Middlesbrough a better deal and future. Make sure you go see and have your eyes opened.

  5. Simon says:

    John Walsh manages the impossible and makes politics entertaining! This is such an entertaining and yet informative film! He is great on camera and the film is well put together and the animations are brilliant too. Its a great insight in to British politics and indeed how we should not put up with lazy MPs.

    I think this should be compulsory viewing and I hope it gets the exposure it deserves. I saw it at the Picture House in Greenwich and it certainly stands up well as a feature documentary, worthy of a big screen run. John Walsh gave a great Q&A afterwards and mentioned future projects- I will look forward to seeing them too.

  6. James says:

    Amazing film, saw it at the FrontLine Club. I was hilarious and a shocking indictment of our political system. Walsh is one to watch, he is the UK’s answer to Michael Moore……….good work young man.