Losing Track is a 1992, made-for-TV movie, produced by BBC Screen One. It tells the story of a father and son who have lost their connection after a long separation.
Clive (Ben Holden) is a 12-year-old boy who is shaken by the tragic death of his mother. His father, Henry Sitchell (Alan Bates), who has been away in India, returns to Britain for the funeral. The years spent in India away from his family have turned him into a very stiff, even grumpy person. He lives by strict rules, follows his ideals and expects his son to follow suit, without paying attention to the emotional condition of the boy. He sees his son as a stranger, as a distant memory might be.
The first indication of their relationship and the expectations of this father for his son can be observed in one of the first scenes. In it, Henry extends his hand for a handshake instead of hugging his son. The boy is mourning the death of his mother, but his father is set to put a stop to that as, in his opinion, the feelings of the boy towards his deceased mother would get in the way and be a hurdle to his future. At the same time, the future of the boy is pretty much predefined in his father’s eyes.
Clive desires to become a journalist, but his father wants him to take on a “more manly” profession. Henry burns his wife’s possessions and builds a model railway in her room instead. The viewer is quick to realize that this is Henry’s way of reminding himself of the authority he had in India and, at the same time, also a way of establishing authority over his son. He proudly shows the set to his son, but soon becomes obsessed with the artificial trains and rail roads and, after a demanding challenge, Clive says that he thought that the whole set was just a game, but is quickly informed that “Games have targets, Games have rules and penalization “. While there is some truth in this statement, it is also a harsh one and definitely not appropriate for a 12-year-old boy.
Losing Track is a powerful drama, which gets to the viewer even if there are no special effects or wild chase scenes. What it does have is a great cast. Alan Bates has a personality that soon steals the film and the viewer’s attention. At the same time, Ben Holden delivers an above average performance, portraying a young and emotional boy who is trying to overcome the grief for his mother and get to know the person who insists on being called “Henry” instead of “Father”.
While the story takes a while to develop, the film is a good example of classic British cinematography. This movie is sure to tug at the heartstrings of its viewers, as it touches on universal issues such an obsession with the past and father- son relationships.
Film title: Losing Track
Alternative titles: El Ultimo Tren
Release year: 1992
Director: Jim Lee
Cast: Alan Bates, Geraldine James, Michael Culver, Ben Holden, Sue Roderick, James Copnall, Brinley Jenkins and others