Eddie and Michael are two 16-year-old best friends on the brink of adulthood. They are both gay, but hold diametrically opposed outlooks on life. Eddie likes watching old films on video with his mother. Michael likes video games and the street.
They are total opposites that argue like an old married couple. Leaving behind the grim, oppressive reality of Liverpool (in the 1980s unemployment rates in Liverpool were amongst the highest in the UK), they stumble into the bizarre fantasy world of a gay transvestite nightclub called The Fruit Machine, run by “Annabelle”.
There, they witness a brutal gangland murder by Echo that transforms their thirst for adventure into a run for their lives. Alone and afraid, yet hopeful, they wind up in Brighton with Vincent and Eve at Wonderland, where their path is strewn with manipulation, deceit and murder.
The Fruit Machine (known as Wonderland in the United States) is a 1988 British film thriller starring Tony Forsyth, Emile Charles, Bruce Payne and Robbie Coltrane in the role of “Annabelle”. The film, which was directed by BAFTA-winner Philip Saville, is about two gay teen friends who are running from an underworld assassin and the police. It was produced by UK TV company Granada Productions. The film showcases the rising careers of actors Coltrane and Payne, as well as future Academy Awards winner, composer Hans Zimmer, who wrote the soundtrack.
The film uses a combination of adventure, buddy film, road movie and 1980s filmmaking to address a number of social issues that were pertinent to the times. Since its release, it has developed a cult following primarily due to its straightforward portrayal of British gay youth.
The Fruit Machine (1988)
Directed by: Philip Saville
Starring: Emile Charles, Tony Forsyth, Robert Stephens, Robbie Coltrane, Bruce Payne, Robbie Coltrane, Kim Christie, Julie Graham
Screenplay by: Frank Clarke
Production Design by: David Brockhurst
Cinematography by: Dick Pope
Film Editing by: Richard Bedford
Costume Design by: Maggie Hayes
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Distributed by: Cannon Films, Vestron Video
Release Date: November 4, 1988