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.
There's often more to admire than to like about many Loach films. His heart is beating for the marginalized and the downtrodden, but his determinism can cross over into sadism. I'm sure the fault's on me, but I had to guard myself against the inevitable turn for the (even) bleaker by keeping my distance emotionally. The scenes with the little felt like Loach was just raising the bar on miserabilism. Still a good film
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.