This loose update of the Oscar Wilde fable tells the tale of raging, impulsive Arbor, a boy kicked out of school and into an illegal trade, stealing copper cable for sale. With its underclass characters and misty Bradford setting, Clio Barnard's second feature has the tone of a Dardennes film, but with a distinct British edge.
The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13-year-old Arbor and his best friend Swifty. Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighbourhood, the two boys meet Kitten, a local scrap dealer. They begin collecting scrap metal for him using a horse and cart. Kitten favours Swifty, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions start to build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all.