Censor (2021)

Director: Prano Bailey-Bond Starring: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Adrian Schiffler, Guillaume Delause, Richard Glover, Michael Smiley, UK. 1h 24m

An unfaltering, visually stunning movie outlining the effects of censorship and suppression on the persona and a precise documentation of the departmentalisation of one’s repressed memories. If you’ve had the privilege of seeing Prano’s short movie, Nasty then you’ll be prepared for the vivid colours, the frantic style of her curious retrowave tales. Nasty is a perfect introduction to her love of tracking, video culture and a warped perception of reality taking over her characters.

Don’t Press Play

Enid (Algar) is the embodiment of Mary Whitehouse and her laborious job is to censor movies in the mid 1980’s. In the opening of the film her boldest characteristics become clear, she’s willing to put in the extra time and pick at tiny details, something her colleagues find slightly annoying but Enid is a stickler and she gets the job done right, this behavior leads to her office nick name of “Little Miss Perfect”. This is all great for management until one fateful day, when she doesn’t live up to her nickname and makes a huge boo boo and falls into a twisted rabbit hole.

Enids life is torn apart by two major events, her parents announce that they are going to legally annouce that her sister is dead as she’s been missing for so many years, and a film which Enid censored then went on to inspire a man to commit a eries of greusom murders and her name is leaked to the press.

Separate Fiction from Reality

While trying to dodge the headlines and press Enid attempts to unravel the untimely disappearance of her sister from clues that she’s picked up on in a particularly violent movie she’s been asked to censor, believing that the director, Doug Smart (Smiley) has something to do with the historic case and possibly more she has to do what she does best and analyse the details. Enid’s search for the film, dodgy video shops and looking for rare titles, you couldn’t just look them up on amazon back in the day, you had to dig in the bins, and these scenes lead to a massive retro trip, sometimes Censor is style over substance and the plot falters from time to time, Michael Smiley attempts to save the movie as a chauvinistic film director who antagonizes Enid but he meets a sticky end.

The oppressive Thatcherite era of censorship, tried to point towards some kind of euphoric, peaceful society without video nasties – a perfect society due to the media being kind and fluffy? The film highlights that locking things away doesn’t always paint a happy future, the films and games aren’t always the key factor in teens slicing each other up in the streets, but it is the start of many talking points that we have to address.

You Can't Edit Reality

Censor is a neon goddess of a film, each scene is enthused with vibrance and the colour play is outstanding and it can’t be faulted on its empathic feminie approach and hints on a bit of inspiration from Stickland?

A throbbing score highlighted by the powerful use of Blanck Mass’s iconic track Chernobyl, which evoked a massive response in Ben Wheatly’s A field in England. It all adds up to a cutting edge thriller with no hang ups or intentions of following the rules.


Rating: 6/10

Related: Nasty (2015) (short), Enter the void (2009)

Lists: Video Nasties, Women on a mission

Post Discussion


One thought on “Censor (2021)”

  1. I thought it was a valiant attempt to create a psychological thriller…obviously some budget limitations, but great performances! Great review as always!

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