Set during Scotland’s national garbage strike of the mid-1970s, Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher explores the experiences of a poor adolescent boy as he struggles to reconcile his dreams and his guilt with the abjection that surrounds him.
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Highly stylized despite its oppressive squalor, Ratcatcher reaches for the miserabilist sublime -- and attains it. Examining -- in a kind of trance of weary wonder -- both sides of every mirror, every window, every body, and every body of water, Ramsay's debut everywhere turns up vermin worthy of our pity, and of some kind of love, but she refuses them, and us, the solace of the moon. Instead she pulls us all under.
The heart and soul of this story is in William Eadie's eyes. This tremendous performance ranks up there with Jean-Pierre Léaud in Les Quatre cents coups as one of the most frank and genuine performances by a child.