Liam’s Mum is due to be released from prison in time for his 16th birthday. This time, he is determined that things will be different. He dreams of a family life he’s never had. But first he’s got to raise the cash. It’s not long before Liam and his friends’ crazy schemes lead them into trouble.
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Continues much of the conventional post-war social realist lineage - homosocial emphasis, absent fathers, poetic expansion of rural landscapes, the Angry Young Man - and situates it within a signatory Loachian moral didacticism, condemning the cyclical patterns and discursively violent language of toxic masculinity and substitutive capitalist exploitation. Bleak but constantly engaging.
Unglamorous social realist gangsterdom brought to life. Loach paints a dystopian warped vision of 'The American Dream' in Scottish heartlands. An uncompromisingly bleak portrait of an under-privileged adolescent's only hope of money and power. It comes at a price.
Stark, gritty and gut wrenchingly real. At times endearing, others deeply saddening. Compston's stellar performance endears us to his character, a good boy caught in a hopeless situation making the final scenes all the more devastating. I think I need to go and watch some Disney now.
As expected, Ken Loach crafts a realistic portrait of a lower class teenager struggling to have a normal life with his mother once she's released from prison, but is instead tied up with crime and violence. Compston was fantastic energy to be discovered, and the supporting performances were gritty and realistic. The last moments of the film sting and the bitter irony of the film's title really settles in.
I’d be laughed out the room for saying these films weren’t of the left - they are - but for me it’s always the humanist reading of a situation that chimes; not crude dialectic, because it’s always the people we care most about and it’s as much about human frailty as failure of a system (which is our frailty or failure - and so society goes on...) To misquote: ‘we’re all only a few inches from the gutter’ anyway.
FINALLY KEN IS ON THE AUTEURS! YEAH!
Anyway, ahem, Ken Loach is by far one of the most relevant and important directors I've ever discovered. His movies can change the way you see movies in general. There are no such concerns as acting or plot or structure floating around in your head while watching one of his movies. It's simply life as it is.
A great Ken Loach film. Thoroughly believable in its gritty portrayal of a brash Scottish lad coming of age and trying, in a less than ideal situation, to find a way to do some good but running into obstacles at every turn.