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Like the filthiest possible feature-length episode of The Archers, and with a tiny conceptual dash of Straw Dogs, Posy Simmonds's graphic novel series Tamara Drewe has been converted into a fantastically mad and undeniably entertaining bucolic romp, which got big laughs at the screening I attended, along with gasps and winces at its operatically violent ending.


Screenwriter Moira Buffini and director Stephen Frears have created a very English pastoral based on an interesting proposition: the countryside is not the sweet, picturesque place imagined by townies, but a seething hellhole of moral turpitude, where people will commit deplorable acts out of sheer resentment and boredom.


The star is Gemma Arterton as Tamara, who was once an ugly-duckling teenager with an enormous nose in the dull country village of Ewedown. But now, with plastic surgery and a flashy job in the London media, she returns in babelicious triumph to her home turf, where her ex-boyfriend, shy hunk Andy (Luke Evans), realises he is still in love with her.


His heart is broken afresh, however, when Tamara begins a passionate affair with queeny and narcissistic rock star Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), who occasionally affects the snuffly voice and manner of Ralph Brown's Danny from Withnail and I.


Across the way from Tamara's house is an appalling "writers' retreat" farmstead founded by pampered crime-fiction author and serial adulterous shagger Nicholas Hardiment, played - perhaps inevitably - by Roger Allam as a velvet-voiced rotter who likes the look of young Tamara.


In theory, his retreat is to encourage young writers; in practice, it is to provide him with a permanent chorus of awestruck flattery and to chain his wife, Beth, to the country hearth while he gets his oats in London. Tamsin Grieg plays poor Beth very well, with a very funny sense of how English people will keep talking because they are embarrassed by silence. "This is a Buff Orpington," she says, showing a hen to the flummoxed Ben, "not good layers, of course - but they are decorative."


All these grown-up actors are in danger of getting the scene stolen from under their noses by Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie as Jody and Casey, the teenage girls who create mayhem for the hell of it, and who spend most of their time reading a celeb mag called Goss in the bus-shelter. "What a lovely baby," says Jody. "Mmm, I'd love one that colour," Casey replies.


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