Glasgow, summer, 1973. Dustmen are striking; bags of garbage add to the blight of council flats and a fetid canal. Ryan, who's about 12, drowns during a play fight with his neighbor, the ... See full summary »
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A young man swims across the rivers and lakes of Britain to a soundtrack of assorted nationalistic music. As he passes people on the banksides including children,lovers and a tramp their ... See full summary »
Glasgow, summer, 1973. Dustmen are striking; bags of garbage add to the blight of council flats and a fetid canal. Ryan, who's about 12, drowns during a play fight with his neighbor, the jug-eared James. James runs home, a flat where he lives with his often-drunk da, his ma, and sisters, who live in hope of moving to newly-built council flats. The slice-of-life, coming-of-age story follows James as he tags along with the older lads; has a friendship with his quirky wee rodent-loving neighbor, Kenny; spends time with Margaret Anne, myopic, slightly older, the local sexual punching bag; and, has a moment or two of joy. The strike may end, but is there any way out for James? Written by
The demolition of the Glasgow tenements marked the end of one chapter in the story of poverty in that city; and sadly, the start of another one, as the bleak new schemes that replaced them soon fell into their own downward cycle. Lynne Ramsay's film, 'Ratcatcher', is an utterly unsentimental portrait of those times, though imbued with a measure of hope that only hindsight proves false. As a chronicler of Britain's working classes, Ramsay's style falls somewhere between the realism of Ken Loach and the artistry of Terrence Davies, although arguably lacking the warmth of either. Moreover, at times 'Ratcatcher' seems stylistically overloaded for no particular purpose (the strange fantasy scene with the mouse, for example, seems out of place in the rest of the movie), while when the film gets it right (such as in the opening scenes, which are almost unwatchably harrowing), it's still unclear for what higher aim Ramsay is putting her audience through the emotional wringer. Perhaps if the film was a little less "arty", more conventionally narrative-driven, and with more obvious sympathy, it might actually be more enjoyable to watch. On the other hand, most films which attempt to offer these conventional virtues end up formulaic, sterile and empty, whereas Ramsay's film is raw and in places very powerful. Taking this film together with 'Morvern Callar', her second feature, my feeling is that Ramsay is a director of considerable talent, but maybe still trying, in this early phase of her career, a little too hard. 'Ratcatcher' is not a great film; but hopefully hints at a great one to come.
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