video sleeve quotes that this is a 'dreamy, visually striking, evocative
and moving' film by newcomer Lynne Ramsay. The adjectives are correct but
fail to say that this is also a very depressing film.
A brief synopsis of the story
shows what territory we are entering: It is set on a Glasgow housing estate
that is patrolled by teenage bullies who take their 'pleasure' from a 14-year-old
girl. For good measure the action takes place in the 1970s during a dustbin
strike, and the main protagonist, James Gillespie (William Eadie) is haunted
by the drowning of his friend in a nearby canal. Rays of hope are provided
by his growing relationship with Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen) and the
possibility of moving to a new home in the countryside.
William Eadie and Leanne
Mullen, along with the rest of the young cast, show the raw brutality and
sensitivity of teenage existence. The camera 'watches' the action from
a distance, making us feel like we are visiting the past to observe James'
private life at that moment in time.
All this escape to a beautifully
pictured countryside is romantic and avoids dealing with any real issues,
but a film that has a rat flying to the moon can't be all bad.