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Young Adam
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Young Adam (2003) More at IMDbPro »

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Young Adam -- US Home Video Trailer from Sony Pictures Classics
Young Adam -- A young drifter working on a river barge disrupts his employers' lives while hiding the fact that he knows more about a dead woman found in the river than he admits.


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6.5/10   10,947 votes »
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Release Date:
4 September 2003 (Netherlands) See more »
A young drifter working on a river barge disrupts his employers' lives while hiding the fact that he knows more about a dead woman found in the river than he admits. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
7 wins & 16 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
More is said in silence than with dialogue See more (114 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ewan McGregor ... Joe Taylor

Tilda Swinton ... Ella Gault

Peter Mullan ... Les Gault

Emily Mortimer ... Cathie Dimly

Jack McElhone ... Jim Gault
Therese Bradley ... Gwen
Ewan Stewart ... Daniel Gordon

Stuart McQuarrie ... Bill
Pauline Turner ... Connie
Alan Cooke ... Bob M'bussi

Rory McCann ... Sam

Ian Hanmore ... Freight Supervisor
Andrew Neil ... Barman
Arnold Brown ... Bowler Hat Man
Meg Fraser ... Stall Woman

Stuart Bowman ... Black Steet Pub Man
Wullie Brennan ... Black Steet Pub Man
Rony Bridges ... Black Steet Pub Man
John Kazek ... Black Steet Pub Man
Duncan McHardy ... Black Steet Pub Man
Stewart Porter ... Black Steet Pub Man

Malcolm Shields ... Black Steet Pub Man
Tam Dean Burn ... Black Street Barman
Michael Carter ... Prosecutor

Struan Rodger ... Judge

Matthew Zajac ... Forensics Expert

Mhairi Morrison ... Cathie's Flatmate (as Mhairi Steenbock)
John Comerford ... Jury Foreman
Anne Marie Timoney ... Mrs. Gordon
John Yule ... Clerk of the Court
Sandy Neilson ... Defence Counsel

Des Hamilton ... Witness
Eddie Dahlstrom ... Blind Man

Directed by
David Mackenzie 
Writing credits
Alexander Trocchi (novel)

David Mackenzie (writer)

Produced by
Gillian Berrie .... associate producer
Leonard Crooks .... associate producer: Glasgow Film Office (as Lenny Crooks)
Robert Jones .... executive producer: UK Film Council
Stephan Mallmann .... associate producer
Steve McIntyre .... associate producer: Scottish Screen
Nick O'Hagan .... co-producer
Jim Reeve .... co-producer
Alexandra Stone .... co-producer
Jeremy Thomas .... producer
Peter Watson .... associate producer
Original Music by
David Byrne 
Cinematography by
Giles Nuttgens (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Colin Monie 
Casting by
Des Hamilton 
Production Design by
Laurence Dorman 
Art Direction by
Stuart Rose 
Set Decoration by
Judy Farr 
Costume Design by
Jacqueline Durran 
Makeup Department
Candice Banks .... hair stylist
Candice Banks .... makeup artist
Tony Lilley .... hair stylist
Tony Lilley .... makeup artist
Meg Speirs .... hair designer
Meg Speirs .... makeup designer
Production Management
Michael Campbell .... unit manager
Clare Maclean .... post-production supervisor (as Clare Oliver)
Janet Riddoch .... production manager (as Janet S. Riddoch)
Beverley Syme .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael Elliott .... first assistant director (as Mike Elliott)
Ben Johnson .... third assistant director
Paul Smythe .... second second assistant director
Anthony Wilcox .... second assistant director
Art Department
Mat Bergel .... stand-by props
Sandy Borthwick .... chargehand painter
Phil Bowen .... construction manager
Susan Collin .... art department assistant
Stewart Cunningham .... dressing props
Colin Davidson .... carpenter
Laura Donnelly .... stand-by art director
Gordon Fitzgerald .... property master
Bobby Gee .... stand-by painter
Derek Gray .... storyboard artist
Richard Hassall .... stand-by carpenter
Michael Higson .... stagehand
John Hughes .... painter
Piero Jamieson .... dressing props
Scott Keery .... stand-by props
Mary Mackenzie .... art department runner
Sue Morrison .... production buyer
Jim O'Donnell .... painter
Jim O'Donnell .... painter
Alex Robertson .... supervising carpenter
Andy Thomson .... assistant art director
David Weatherstone .... storeman
Sound Department
Tim Alban .... dubbing mixer
Kieran Boyne .... sound trainee
Edward Bulman .... foley editor
Edward Bulman .... foley recordist
Tony Cook .... boom operator
Richard Davey .... assistant dubbing mixer
Rory Farnan .... dialogue editor
Mike Grimes .... assistant sound editor
Louis Kramer .... additional sound recordist
Melissa Lake .... foley artist
Micheal MacKinnon .... adr recordist: Glasgow
Sandy Miller .... boom operator
Colin Nicolson .... sound recordist
Jeremy Price .... supervising sound editor
James Seddon .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Lionel Selwyn .... foley artist
Chris Sinclair .... adr recordist: Glasgow
Barnaby Smyth .... adr recordist
David Turner .... sound technical coordinator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Tony Auger .... special effects supervisor
Graham Hills .... special effects foreman
Martin 'Marty' McLaughlin .... senior snow effects technician
David 'Pinkie' Thomas .... snow effects technician
Perry Costello .... rain effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Phil Attfield .... visual effects supervisor
Robin Beard .... digital effects artist
Simon Carr .... visual effects supervisor
Mark Dollery .... digital imaging
Tom Hocking .... digital artist
Gruff Owen .... digital artist
Nina Armstrong .... stunts
Kelly Dent .... stunts
Rowley Irlam .... stunt double: Ewan Mcgregor
Gareth Milne .... stunt coordinator
Lyndal Smith .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Anna Benbow .... camera trainee
Jim Boorer .... grip
Lewis Buchan .... focus puller
Neil Davidson .... still photographer
Arthur Donnelly .... electrician
Steven Hall .... cinematographer: second unit
John Harper .... first assistant camera: second unit
Bob Hunt .... best boy
Andy Long .... gaffer
Frank McConologue .... electrician (as Frank McConalogue)
Dean Morrish .... underwater first assistant camera
Derrick Peters .... second assistant camera: second unit
Lilia Sellami .... clapper loader
Pat Sweeney .... rigging gaffer
Mike Valentine .... underwater camera operator
Billy Wilson .... stand-by rigger
Andy Gardner .... clapper loader dailies (uncredited)
Casting Department
Kahleen Crawford .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lesley Abernethy .... costume assistant
Vickie Hallam .... costume breakdown (as Vicki Hallam)
Barbara Harrington .... costume assistant
Hazel Mall .... costume trainee
Sara Meek .... assistant costume designer
Emma Walker .... costume breakdown
Editorial Department
Layla Blackman .... post-production assistant (as Layla Evans)
Giles Burgess .... first assistant film editor: London
Steven Ferguson .... editor trainee
Anna Mehta .... first assistant film editor: Glasgow
Chris Sinclair .... post-production assistant
John Stanborough .... film grader
Music Department
Lisa Aferiat .... musician
Michael Bannister .... assistant music mixer
Caroline Barber .... musician
Allon Beauvoisin .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Georgia Boyd .... musician
Stuart Brown .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Barry Burns .... musician
David Byrne .... music arranger: strings
Richard Colburn .... musician
Tony Doogan .... music mixer
Keith Edwards .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Dick Gaughan .... consultant: folk music
Donald Gillan .... musician
Janice Ginsberg .... music supervisor
Robert Irvine .... musician
Greg Lawson .... musician
Malcolm Lindsay .... music arranger: strings
George Lyle .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Raymond MacDonald .... music arranger: strings
Raymond MacDonald .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Una McGlone .... musician
Johnny McGlynn .... musician: guitar "Rio Grande"
Ken McLuskey .... music tutor
Gill Mills .... musicians coordinator
Gregor Philp .... musician
Alasdair Roberts .... musician
Michael Sangster .... assistant music mixer
John Somerville .... musician
Fiona Stephen .... musician
Graeme Wilson .... musician: Hung Drawn Quartet
Transportation Department
Michael Allen .... driver: minibus
Jas Brown .... unit driver
Graeme Brownlee .... unit driver
Tommy Bryce .... unit driver
Jim Cardy .... driver: wardrobe truck
Neill Cinnamond .... barge driver
Jeff Derby .... driver: make-up truck (as Jeff Darby)
Roddy Garden .... driver: dressing props vehicle
Dave Love .... driver: camera car
Craig McQueenie .... driver: generator
Andy Nielson .... stand-by driver
Ross Weir .... barge driver
Other crew
Matthew Baker .... assistant: Alexandra Stone
Guy Barker .... production accountant
Stephen Burt .... location manager
Jo Cameron Brown .... voice and dialect coach
Jennifer Cargey .... production runner
Gillian Clyde .... business affairs
Dorothy Connolley .... script supervisor (as Dot Connolley)
David Davidson .... marine coordinator
Harry Dixon .... legal script consultant
Clair Dobbs .... unit publicist
Tony Duncan .... security officer
Larry Eydmann .... health and safety advisor
Kara Finlay .... assistant: David Byrne
Julie Gardner .... production coordinator (as Julie Connor)
Amy Gilliam .... floor runner
Anne Marie Gormley .... assistant accountant
Vince Holden .... production financing (as Vincent Holden)
Sarah Hughes .... clearance
Kelly Johnson .... accounts trainee
Jocelyn Jones .... assistant: Jeremy Thomas
Robbie Kirkpatrick .... floor runner
Florence Larsonneur .... business affairs: Recorded Picture Company
Stuart MacDonald .... marine consultant
Iain MacLean .... location assistant
Layla Mall .... production trainee
Glynis McKeand .... consultant: courtroom
Luke Morris .... production executive
William Morris .... body double: Peter Mullan
Brock Norman Brock .... production executive
Ciara Parkes .... unit publicist
Caroline Perjesi .... assistant: Nick O'Hagan
Laura Quinn .... stand-in
Norman Campbell Rees .... stand-in (as Norman Rees)
Kristy Ryan .... promotions manager: Australia
David Sheasby .... body double: Ewan McGregor
Josie Smith .... body double: Emily Mortimer
Jemima Spence .... body double: Emily Mortimer (as Jay Spence)
Paul Swann .... laboratory contact
Stef Swiatek .... unit nurse
Jessica Thomas .... additional epk
Avril Watt .... script supervisor
Julia Willis .... assistant: Peter Watson and Stephan Mallmann
Norman Campbell Rees .... production assistant (uncredited)
Alastair Mackenzie .... special thanks
Tony Rolink .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content
98 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:MA | Canada:R | Finland:K-15 | France:-12 | Germany:16 | Hong Kong:III | Iceland:L (original rating) | Iceland:16 (video rating) | Ireland:18 | Italy:VM18 | Japan:R-18 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R18 | Norway:15 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:R21 | South Korea:18 | Spain:18 | Switzerland:16 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Zurich) | UK:18 | USA:NC-17 | USA:R (edited version)

Did You Know?

After finding the body, Joe is sitting on a bucket at the dockside, a famous pose of that Dundonian cartoon rascal Oor Wullie, whose own father used to work on the docks.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: The chords heard as Les plays the guitar change, but his fingers don't move.See more »
Joe Taylor:[after having sex with Ella] Are you sorry?
Ella Gault:Fat lot of good that would do me.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) (TV)See more »


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28 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
More is said in silence than with dialogue, 2 February 2004

Spoiler warning !!

Although the audience may not realise it initially, this film is carefully constructed with two story lines, one of which is through flashbacks that blend so seamlessly with the 'present' that it feels like it's running in parallel. As well, the director is in no hurry to give the audience everything all at once. He lets the flashback story seep through the screen in its good time. However, he does plant along the way plenty of details that may seem a little strange but make perfect sense as the story unfolds. The best example is at the very beginning. Joe (Ewan McGregor) and his employer Les (Peter Mullan) fish a woman's dead body form the Glasgow-Edinburgh canal which their barge is working. In the same evening, when they are having supper in the cabin with Les' wife Ella (Tilda Swinton) and little boy, Les asks Joe if he thinks that it's murder. Joe breaks out into an almost poetic description of what he thinks has happened, that the woman committed suicide. This near-monologue is totally out of character with lowly barge hand Joe, until two things are revealed later: Joe the writer (or his aspiration to be one), and his relationship with the dead woman.

Not only the past, but even the present, is revealed ever so gradually. As the sexual liaison between Joe and Ella develops, we are under the impression that Ella is very much of an abused (though not physically or violently) wife totally under the control of her husband. It isn't until Les confronting Joe on the deck that we see an unexpected turn of events, with Les' short, crisp announcement of 'It's her barge'. Although Les has never been exactly a model husband, it turns out that Ella is the real boss, in a very literal sense. We now see the tough side of Ella. When Les packs his things and leaves, wondering when he can see his son who is now at boarding school, we can't help but feel a little sympathy for him.

The film is certainly not made to please the mainstream audience. First, on the practical side, it does not care about political correctness, and shows cigarette smoking scenes in abundance. The film is shot with a general tone of depressing gloominess, with a few well placed out-focused scenes, the most noticeable being the ending scene with Joe walking away from the river. Yet, there is a melancholic beauty in the sometimes grainy photography. At the very beginning, the long-range shot of the dock and background scenery is so beautifully framed that it can easily win a price at a photography contest. Equally melancholic is the general use of the cello in background music. Sound off is not used that much. In fact I only recall one, the sound of buses and other street vehicles, cutting from Joe with Ella in bed at the cabin of the barge to a flashback of a busy street scene of his re-encounter with his ex-girlfriend Cathie (Emily Mortimer). The motif of the hand mirror inscribed with loving words from Cathie to Joe is, however, slightly over-used.

As to my summary line, all of the more subtle exchanges in the film are made in silence, rather than with dialogue. The two best examples are of course Joe's seduction of Ella and his first encounter with Cathy (in that order in the film, but in reverse order chronologically). There is of course dialogue but by the time it gets to the dialogue, the parties have already established an understanding beyond words.

One reviewer makes an insightful comparison of Joe to Camus' Outsider. Indeed, rather than being portrayed as an irresponsible libertine, Joe is shown as a confused outsider, often driven by his own physical desire, but not entirely without sensibility. This persona is echoed by the title Young Adam, still young but post-Garden of Eden, tossed into a cheerless world and doomed to an endless exile.

The acting is first class all around. McGreagor shows that he is made of sterner stuff than needed for a light-sabre-happy Obi-wan Kenobi or a love-sick Christian. Swinton works the layers of Ella amazingly well, first the passive, guilt-troubled wife (particularly at the second liaison when Joe breaks the lamp) then the liberated woman temporarily carried away with ideas of divorce and remarriage, and finally very quickly coming down to earth again. More easily overlooked is Mullan playing the cockolded husband, maybe not to the stupendous height of the gentleman at Camelot, but with his own grass-root poignancy. Mortimer's role may not be as demanding as the other three's, but her competent portrayal of Cathie's endearing young charm is quite necessary to make Joe's subsequent remorse convincing.

Young Adam is not for everybody, but definitely a marvellous cinematic experience to those with the capacity to appreciate.

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