RAINING STONES
 

Directed by Ken Loach. UK. 1993.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Bob (Bruce Jones) is on the dole. With barely enough money to pay his rent, he is still determined to buy his daughter Coleen (Gemma Phoenix) a new dress for Communion, an investment of a few hundred pounds. The truth of the characters and an authentic script by Jim Allen lifts Ken Loach's 1993 drama Raining Stones out of the ordinary and makes it a human document of considerable strength. Bob's spirit propels the story and allows us to root for him as he tries to overcome his failure to find the means to fulfill his wishes for his daughter.

As the film opens, Bob and his friend Tommy (Tomlinson) steal a sheep from the countryside but cannot bring themselves to kill it. Instead they bring it to the butcher who tells them that it is mutton, not lamb and it is worthless to him. When they attempt to sell it piece-by-piece at the local tavern, they leave the keys in the ignition and Bob's van is stolen. Bob goes from one misadventure to another, from stealing sod from a golf course for a landscape gardener to a one-night stand as a bouncer at a local pub that ends up with him getting beaten and losing his job in the process. One of the funniest scenes takes place at the local church where Bob is forced into donating his services to clean their drains and ends up only with thanks from the pastor and a bucket full of dirt on his clothes. Supporting Bob is a supportive pastor (Tom Hickey), who urges him to rent a dress at a reduced cost, and his wife Anne (Julie Brown) who stands with him in periods of distress. 

The second part of the film centers around Bob's efforts to raise the necessary cash to buy the dress and his unfortunate choice of borrowing the money and having to deal with a loan shark that gets him and his family into serious trouble. The script by Jim Allen rings true although, without subtitles, much of the dialogue is drowned in regional accents. Raining Stones builds to a powerful ending with an unforced naturalism that makes us feel for the characters as human beings, not as symbols of a society that has turned its back on its poorest members.

GRADE: B+
 

Howard Schumann
 
 
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