In its current manifestation, British cinema, with only very rare exceptions, has become prey to the kind of thing that is labeled as political correctness. This sort of enforced attitude does not allow the creation of any genuine piece of criticism nor does it allow those conditions to thrive that allow vigorous critiques of state or cultural trends. Once a particular attitude is considered more useful, from a point of view of non-confrontation, then whether it is literature or cinema, genuine works of art will never arise. This is in contrast to times in Britain, in the early and late sixties, where at least in cinema, certain movies were made that allowed the expression of certain points of view, be it those of people who were marginalized because of class or other less conspicuous distinctions. Since art without any political tones is merely a pose, it is only in true works of art that political manifestations can become evident.One of these movies is based on a play by Alan Sillitoe and is called The loneliness of the long distance runner.
"You play ball with us and we will play ball with you" is the first warning shot that the Borstal boys hear. Colin past allegiances , to his family and friends, his girl friend filter through his mind and yet, in a very menacing but vague manner, his acts of petty crime are tokens of resistance against a system that perpetuates class distinctions. This is shown strikingly in a scene when he and a friend lower the volume of a newly acquired television and mimic and laugh at the posh accent on the television. When Colin finally participates in the race, he leaves his nearest 'posh' opponent a mile behind but decides not to cross the finishing line. He chooses to wait as a spectator and even makes way as his opponent wins the race, much to the stunned dismay of the Borstal school authorities, who are in a way, wounded and bemused. Colin's act of defiance seems to him a signal manner not only to react against the establishment inside and outside the reformatory, but also to show an alliance with his fellow detainees, who fear that he may have turned to the 'other side'.
The loneliness of Colin is not merely a romantic one but extremely real, situated as it is in his 'times' but also outside that of a pure 'time' or place. In that space, in the realization of that resistance, his loneliness is worth the price he pays.