16 Years of Alcohol (2003) Poster

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Poetic and Personal Triumph
escalation74629 July 2004
I was not expecting much from '16 Years of Alcohol'. Perhaps an overly sentimental look back at Scottish urban life, perhaps a neo-realist bleakness. But when it started with hypnotically beautiful images of Edinburgh and a voice-over in that recognisable cadence, with repeating cycles of words drawing out every ounce of meaning from clichés like "hope"... well, I knew that I was firmly in Richard Jobson territory, and that maybe he has always been a film-maker at heart. He skirts cliché while playing with it, trying to show the violence endemic in that society and making many references to other films ('Clockwork Orange', westerns, 'Trainspotting', Martin Scorsese, etc.). It is larger than life and demonstrates how the mythic archetypes shape the characters rather too small for the roles they want to adopt.

Kevin McKidd is brilliant as "Frankie", a character the amalgam of Jobson and his brother; I kept forgetting he was not in fact Jobson. The women are incredibly beautiful and yet have a depth of character not commonly seen in films that make women into such visual feasts. They are saviour archetypes but again somehow avoid cliché. How is Jobson doing this? There is some subtle artistry at work here. The cinematography is gorgeous and I was glad for the snippet of Skids on the soundtrack, though 'Love is the Drug' gets the best treatment in a scene that is both scary and hilarious.

The film is dedicated to Jobson's brother, who did not escape the life of alcohol and violence and was murdered a couple of years ago. In the post-film talk at the Dublin Film Festival, Jobson revealed he had in fact run with the most notoriously violent of Edinburgh's youth gangs, until Skids took him away from that. This is quite obviously a very personal film and yet a highly aestheticised interpretation as well.

I did not want the film to end, and would gladly have sat through it a second time immediately. Maybe it's just where I'm at in my life right now. Maybe it's because I have spent so many hours over the years infiltrated by Jobson's aesthetic. Maybe it's just a damned good film.

'16 Years of Alcohol' won Richard Jobson the award for Directorial Debut at the British Independent Film Awards. It has received glowing reviews from Time Out, The Guardian, and Sight and Sound. It has played at festivals the world over. Forget the dismal comments of those too cynical to enjoy real film-making. See this poetic triumph for yourself.
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7/10
One from the heart
paulnewman20013 February 2005
Co-founder of The Skids-turned-film critic Richard Jobson puts his ambition where his mouth is in a striking directorial debut.

Superficial comparisons to Trainspotting are inevitable (set in Edinburgh, starring Kevin McKidd and featuring Ewen Bremner in a tale of struggle against addiction) but the gentle mood, flourishes of Expressionist style, John Rhodes' luminous photography and a haunting piano score plant this firmly in art-house territory.

After witnessing his father's philandering, Frankie Mac (McKidd) grows into the hard-drinking leader of a gang of skinheads (with Jobson trowling on the visual references to A Clockwork Orange) until the love of a good woman gives him a way out. But redemption proves a big step and his aggressive paranoia ensures he's not out of woods yet.

The work of Chungking Express director Wong Kar-Wai, who encouraged this project, is a major influence and a mixed blessing for Jobson; he occasionally over-eggs his point too literally (a moment in which Frankie appears to have come full circle is unnecessarily overplayed with flashbacks to remind you why it's poignant) and McKidd's melancholy voice-over sometimes intrudes.

But these are small flaws in a passionate, poetic film about hope which makes a genuine attempt to find a unique cinematic voice and is powered by an awesome, committed and hugely credible performance from McKidd.
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10/10
Pure cinematic poetry - a must-see
timbarr-130 July 2004
From Kevin McKidd's stunning performance to the exquisitely shot Edinburgh exteriors, this is one of the most beautiful and evocative films I've ever seen. Anyone who grew up in Britain during the 1970s will recognise much of what's up on-screen. McKidd and Jobson have captured the teenage experience of those years perfectly and reproduce the entire register of repressed emotions and violent undercurrents with unswerving accuracy.

Naturally, it's a film about redemption - of sorts - but the tantalising, bitter-sweet promise of love and hope that permeates this film is delivered with a genuine toughness that sets it apart from the usual Brit-flick. File alongside some of the best European imports of recent years ... a wonderful and powerful movie that everyone should see.
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7/10
Edinburgh drinking man depicted in hard-etched poetry
Chris Knipp17 April 2005
"Sixteen Years of Alcohol" is the Edinburgh story of a guy with a philandering dad who starts to drink at twelve or so, turns into a violent, alcoholic punker, and finally seeks self-reform. Early scenes depict Frankie, the young boy and his father. We then jump forward to the big, muscular Frankie Mack (Kevin McKidd) terrorizing pubs and shops with his three mates like Alex and his dogies in "A Clockwork Orange" but without Alex's archness and glee. Frankie also gets into fights with his own mates and woos Helen (Laura Fraser), who clerks in a record shop.

Eventually the hero, whose brooding voice-overs constantly intrude, loses Helen, though for a while she seems to have tamed him and turned him from Mars into Artemis, bearer of good news -- as she puts it in a game they play on a colonnade perched high up above the town. Frankie gets stabbed and kicked senseless (S.O.P. for the hoodlums of this piece) and winds up in a twelve-step group for alcoholics -- but when he shares at a meeting, he tellingly substitutes for the classic AA declaration, "My name is Frankie, and I AM A VIOLENT MAN." He also joins an acting workshop with Mary (Susan Lynch), his new girl -- or recovery pal: there's no lovemaking or physical affection shown. One shot hints that Frankie's employed in a workshop or factory, but specific detail is lacking: the film is deliberately short on connected narrative, going for passion and poetry over mundane realism.

There's truth in the 'Village Voice's' thumbnail description of "Sixteen Years of Alcohol" as a series of "static tableaux," and it's also true that McKidd's better than "the dubious romanticism and hard-man clichés of his role." Parts of the movie fall flat, but what makes it worth watching is an intense clarity about the people and the sharply lit scenes they're in. Also welcome to an American is that unlike some Scottish films this one's English is crystal clear too. There is the power and sincerity of the simple small film in "Sixteen Years of Alcohol," but also a lack of narrative focus and sense of a whole world one finds in England's Sixties "angry young man" films beginning with "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning." Jobson isn't trying for "kitchen sink" realism at all, but for something poetic and expressionistic; and the stark, strikingly lit photography helps him approach that goal and make this a watchable film.

What's less appealing is the simplistic fatalism of the plot structure. One may wind up wishing Frankie had received more practical tips about how to stay off alcohol and violence, rather than focusing on his relationships with women, which aren't developed very far anyway. The "dubious romanticism" shows up in the way a life is ultimately seen as circular (as is the film's "ring" framing device) and doomed, rather than -- what would be equally justified by the story -- moderately hopeful. The chap is still young and healthy, after all, and he wants to get better. Why not suggest he's going in that direction? This is the first film for Jobson, previously known as the front man for the Seventies Scottish art punk band, the Skids, and, later as a poet, model, TV presenter, film producer and critic. He has not disgraced himself in this semi-autobiographical effort (the time-line follows that of his own Sixties childhood and Seventies youth). What one remembers are the stark sometimes beautiful images. The high-flown, overwrought writing can be cloying, but may also point in a fresh new direction. No Danny Boyle here, but rather, perhaps, a new style and voice.

(Seen March 26, 2005 at Cinema Village in New York.)
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6/10
arty attempt at the 'rehabilitated alcoholic' story
Chris_Docker8 August 2004
This is on one level a very gritty story of alcohol abuse and violence; on another it is an aesthetically realised elegy to hope and hopelessness. The beautiful images of historic Edinburgh are used unpretentiously as a backdrop to mindlessly savage beatings and physical intimidation, cinematic techniques involving varied use of lighting, colour, slow motion and overt symbolism. In one scene, the dead-end nature of the lives of people in a bar is demonstrated by showing them as corpses, seated with their drinks and covered in cobwebs, as the main protagonist looks on and questions his own downward-spiralling life of drink and vengeance. There is some light in the character of Helen, an art school graduate whose love might inspire hoodlum Frankie to give up his drunken brawling loud-mouthed ways, but ultimately the story of the slow and painful attempts of an alcoholic to reform himself will be too easily forgotten. The artistic attempts of writer/director and former Skids band-member Richard Jobson are what make the biggest impression – it remains to be seen whether Jobson can subsequently produce of work of creative genius rather than something that simply suggests considerable talent.
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2/10
Trying to hard to be deep and meaningful?
ian-stewart14 June 2005
There is a key aspect of film that Jobson seems to have forgotten - it has the ability to tell a story by showing it to you. You don't need to tell the audience what to think, because they'll see it. The action here is interspersed with some of the most ponderous narration unleashed on the unsuspecting public - the purple prose of the sensitive fifth former. And it should be unnecessary because their is a fine cast here and some beautifully composed and shot visuals. Maybe Jobbo felt that the basic story needed a lit bit of support. And he may have been right, it lacks a basic credibility: 70s Edinburgh wasn't exactly full of beautiful brainy girls with a penchant for the Velvet Underground and a soft spot for a passing sociopath. From the too neat and new looking clothes that character wears to the cod intellectualism that tries to link it all together, it's all too contrived for my taste.
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10/10
Excellent, thoroughly worthwhile drama!!! The best film I've seen in ages
davideo-222 April 2005
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

As a young boy,Frankie (Kevin McKidd) idolises his father,until he discovers him to be a philandering p*sshead.Years later,he's formed a violence gang with three of his mates,terrorizing pubs and record shops with equal disdain.But then he finds love and finds his faith in life being redeemed and decides to turn his back on his old ways and start a new life.But then,he finds turning away from what you know is not very easy at all.

The film is shot in a style and presentation that I wasn't expecting it to be.The style of the story unravelled in a way I wasn't expecting either.But,if these are the provisos for enduring such an excellent film as 16 Years of Alcohol,I'll happily accept them.

Everything about the film just comes together brilliantly and perfectly.The script is fantastic,carried by lead star McKidd with a sobering,haunting presence and delivery making astute observations about life and especially the relevance of 'hope.'The film plays some clever homage to ones that have gone before it,such as,most prominently,A Clockwork Orange and Enter the Dragon.

Frankie's story is extremely engaging,as we follow him down his path from a happy,idealistic young boy to a disillusioned young man who can't identify love to anything and can only see the hard,grainy reality of life and accordingly decides to follow suite,onto an older and more mature man,hardened by the realities of life but more adhered to them and functioned to deal with them more knowingly,only for it all to tragically come crashing down around him for one silly mis-understanding.

If a film like Trainspotting could have made it as big as it did,with a far superior script it's hard to see why this couldn't.But maybe this should be kept apart from a mainstream audience and kept firmly stuck in it's art-house roots so that it can be appreciated by those who truly can.It really is a fantastic experience,the best film I've seen in ages and one I'd whole-heartedly recommend you to see.*****
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6/10
Arguably, a bit better than Hallmark
tributarystu5 November 2004
Films about alcohol are usually depressing. They rob all the enthusiasm for life one might have in just a few hours and leave you staring into the void at the end, wondering what the point was. It's difficult to catalog them in any way, because a good "alcoholics movie" is one which swiftly flows along certain psychological retinues and steadily builds up to a mammoth of self deprivation.

However, this isn't truly a film about alcohol. It's more a film about getting a life (yes, Trainspotting), portrayed in a less imaginative way. It all gravitates around love and the end is helplessly tragic, but "Sixteen Years of Alcohol" isn't that bad. Some sweet imagery and photography might make it worth your time. Also, the story resides within the soul of everyone who suffers due to lack of purpose, not only those subdued to the magic liquor. It's a borderline movie: you may very well dislike it, because the storyline is crap. Like all those films which fit into this part of the movie-specter, "Sixteen..." has good and bad parts. Just to name one, I want to recall the "Clockwork Orange" scenes, which are a homage-like rip-off, that barely prove a point. Moreover, those scenes feel terribly frustrating.

All in all, it's not too bad and it could hardly have been better. No one need to watch it, but everyone is invited. Check out the party. 6/10
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6/10
Sparse and Barren!
ed_two_o_nine30 July 2006
This is a strange morose film. At times it felt like a full length student movie with little in the way of plot development but some interesting themes. It had some interesting points to make on alcoholism but was more a study of the drinking culture of the Scottish working class. The film was held together well by Andewr McKidd who occupies most scenes with some good supporting cast and a cameo from director Richard Jobson. A satisfying film though I am not sure I would want to watch it again. Judge for yourself is my strongest recommendation. All in all this is a good but not great film. Some of what saves the movie are the interesting camera shots and a great soundtrack that I will now definitely be seeking out.
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10/10
An unexpectedly great movie
C.A.Giacoma22 February 2006
The title of this film is a very simplistic black and white understatement to a richly colored piece of art. The subject matter, alcoholism, and the toll it takes on society, it's children and young adults is approached and played out with great subtlety and artistry- this is no public education piece that preaches at the viewer. Rather, it seduces the viewer with excellent directing, fine acting, rich color, poetically minimalistic dialog and a great soundtrack. I was surprised to read that this was not in an accessible format- the copy I rented plays on U.S. video devices and computers with no problem at all. My only disappointment with this movie is the lack of an available soundtrack for purchase.
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1/10
A movie fan and alcoholics review: garbage
Marevii17 June 2005
This movie was terrible. The first half hour is much like a... well, apologies for the lack of articulation, but it was simply a bad version of A Clockwork Orange. The first scene is almost photocopied from one of the first in Clockwork! Supposedly it was a tribute, as per the appearance of the Clockwork poster on the protagonist's wall, however "ripoff" is the more appropriate word. The movie felt as though it was torn right from the Kubrick classic, only filmed through a new director's eyes. A blind director. Unfortunately when it stops its massacre of Kubrick's work, the film gets even worse. As another commentator said, the deepness of this film is just shoved down your throat. Arrogant, self absorbed and ultimately meaningless drivel.

Perhaps the protagonists ramblings would touch a nerve if there was any actual character development in this movie. I felt absolutely nothing for this guy. And I'm an alcoholic, so I figure that if anyone might be able to feel anything for him, it would be me. Awful character development, dialogue and plot.

The worst part about this movie is the title. For a film called "16 Years of Alcohol", the alcoholism is hardly a factor in the flick. See first paragraph - it was such a butchering of A Clockwork Orange I can't get over it. A more suited title would have been "16 Years of Violence," or, even better, "A Clockwork Banana".

Just do yourself a favor and avoid this movie. If you disregard my advice and take it out anyway, drink. Trust me.
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1/10
The worst of both worlds
RadleyanQuickly12 February 2006
This is only the second time I stopped a video/DVD part way through.

I was willing to give this film the benefit of the doubt at first, even though it managed to be both shallow, clichéd and stupid.. AND joyless, plodding and pretentious.

It was like an After School Special directed by that weird grade nine kid who thinks nobody understands him... creepy and sad, with voice-over narration that only the most deluded adolescent would consider poetry... and some singing, and... no, really, the poor child's suffering...

Enough, already, especially when it morphed into a brazen, clumsy, and insulting Clockwork Orange ripoff. And did I mention the singing?

This isn't the worst film I've ever seen, but certainly the one I've felt least compelled to sit through. I don't recommend it to anyone.
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8/10
Beautiful, horrible and true
nb_235 August 2004
Of course Edinburgh was one of the stars of the movie so it was even more horrible to see the violence with my beautiful city as a backdrop. But that's partly why this movie made such an impact on me - yes, yes, it was a bit over the top and it was probably a mistake to allow Richard Jobson to be writer and director (just as it's usually a mistake to allow someone to star in the movie they directed - except for Clint Eastwood who is astonishingly good at using all of himself in his movies).

However, and it's a big big however, this was real. These people were real. Their lives and tragedies were real. The film was overwritten but overall lyrical and full of pathos. The images were wonderful (go on, admit it, you loved the sunset over Edinburgh's Folly!).

Ignore the detractors - go and see this movie to experience one side of Edinburgh life that you'll never see when you come for the Festival.
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3/10
Pretentious "artsy" snooze-fest
Kalle_it1 January 2010
I got lured by the title... I was expecting an insightful and intriguing journey into alcoholism, instead I got a rather boring and uninspiring story about a rowdy Scot.

The leading character isn't given much psychological depth, unless you are willing to classify cheesy teen-like poetry as psychology.

It was a shame, because the core of the story could have been good, with a better effort to depict the inner feelings of a man who had to live with alcohol and violence since his youth.

Sadly, the general idea seems to be more like "I'm the way I am because that's the way I am". And the laughingly bad attempt at giving some sort of poetic edge to a lower-class man makes things even worse. Resorting to the overused cliché of the "poète maudit" reeks of a quick fix, a cheap way to make a dull movie seem smart, artsy and meaningful.

But "16 years of alcohol" isn't much smart, artsy or meaningful... The leading character doesn't evolve at all, and the feeble attempt of changing fails without a good explanation. Just like the initial attempt happened rather out of the blue.

The movie borrows heavily from classics such as A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting, but it ultimately fails to recapture their greatness, not even for a few seconds.

Jobson put too much emphasis on the artistic side of the story, and neglected the rest, giving us a movie which is pleasant to the eye but insipid to the brain.
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1/10
A new contender for worst film of all time!
peter-36221 November 2003
How do I begin to review a film that will soon be recognized as the `worst film of all time' by the `worst director of all time?' A film that could develop a cult following because it's `so bad it's good?'

An analytical approach criticizing the film seems both pointless and part of band-wagon syndrome--let's bash freely without worry of backlash because every other human on earth is doing it, and the people who like the film like it for those flaws we'd cite.

The film's universal poor quality goes without saying-- 'Sixteen Years of Alcohol' is not without competition for title of worst film so it has to sink pretty low to acquire the title and keep a hold of it, but I believe this film could go the distance. IMDb doesn't allow enough words to cite all the films failures, and it be much easier to site the elements 'Sixteen Years of Alcohol' does right. Unfortunately, those moments of glory are so far buried in the shadows of this film's poorness that that's a task not worth pursuing.

My impressions? I thought I knew what I was getting into, I had been warned to drink several cups of coffee before sitting down to watch this one (wish that suggestion had been cups of Vodka). Despite my low expectations, 'Sixteen Years of Alcohol' failed to entertain me even on a `make fun of the bad movie' level. Not just bad, but obnoxiously bad as though Jobson intentionally tried to make this film a poetical yawn but went into overkill and shoved the poetry down our throats making it not profound but funny . .. and supposedly Jobson sincerely tried to make a good movie? Even after viewing the 'Sixteen Years of Alcohol' promotional literature, I have trouble believing Jobson's sincerity. Pointless and obnoxious till the end with a several grin/chuckle moments (all I'm sure none intentional)spiced the film, and those few elements prevented me from turning the DVD off. So bad it's good? No. It had just enough 'I can't believe this is a serious movie moments' to keep me from turning it off, and nothing more.

Definitely a film to watch with a group of bad-movie connoisseurs. Get your own running commentary going. That would've significantly improved the experience for me. So bad it's Mike Myers commentating in his cod Scottish accent on it as it runs, to turn this whole piece of sludge into a comic farce "Ok dare ma man, pass me annuder gliss of dat wiskey".
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1/10
Patronising film & I felt nothing for the character. WE ARE NOT IDIOTS!
epicedium7 October 2006
I found this film embarrassing to watch. I felt like it was shoving the storyline down my throat as if I couldn't pick up the subtleties I needed a voice over to spell them all out for me constantly.

Having a father who IS still an alcoholic, I didn't really feel it was a film about alcoholism as such. Alcoholics, true alcoholics are very lonely people inside, in my opinion of course. They find it hard to communicate, something that the main character had no problem with really, except he DID have a problem saying I love you at one point- which was a bit of a feeble effort at establishing his cold character. He was constantly surrounded with people too!?

I felt cheated that at no point were we really alone with the character to really get a sense of his inner loneliness and turmoil. I couldn't connect with the character and felt no link at all considering my father. I felt nothing at all when it had finished, just relief it was over.

Kevin McKidd is an okay actor but not a tough guy feature lead! The clockwork orange thing was as subtle as a brick. McKidd was too old for the teen, they should have got three different characters or avoided the teen stage and concentrated more on the adult McKidd.

On a good note, I felt the little boy actor was really good at the start of the film!!
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2/10
More dull dross from a pretentious Scotsman
ismurderbad11 December 2005
You can often tell a movie didn't turn out like it should by the heavy use of a narrator. This film features this device throughout. Richard Jobson not entirely content to write direct and even fund some of this film adds to his credits by reading excerpts of his own semi- autobiographical writing which combined with some pretty editing manages to gloss over what is a dull depressing tale which he must be mistaking for genuine art-house. Kevin McKidd puts in a good performance. Everyone else is okay.

Budget constraints meant that all scenes are shot in daylight though most are obviously meant to be at night, though if you know serious alcoholics they mainly operate in the day so for me it adds a touch of realism.

The funniest part of this film is a waitress who fails to age a single day in the 20 odd years that elapse between her appearances - a more extreme version of the problem McKidd has who goes from 18 to 30 without changing more than his clothes. Bless.
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3/10
Unconvincing. Low budget no excuse.
Michael Calwell22 October 2005
This film limps from self indulgent moment to self indulgent moment, promising to develop into something worth hanging on for. But it doesn't. It's flat, self conscious, unimaginative and tedious.

A series of set images and backdrops don't make a film, they make a calendar. This kind of pitiful socialist pseudo drama documentary ("It's TRUE it REALLY happened") not only fails to entertain, it fails to convince, so it doesn't even function as social history. Clichés co-mingled with bad acting make this a film very difficult to finish, the amusement factor wearing off fairly quickly. The characters are one dimensional, never developing to the extent that one feels for them. The director's ego is the largest character in this film.
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5/10
Pretensions without solid ground
stensson29 April 2005
One can't say that Scottish films about the 70s come to often, but this is one time too many. Kevin McKidd does the Edinburghian skinhead, who can't fight his past (or maybe that is what he actually does, beating people up). The past is a father who cheats on his mother and the son who never really get involved, never takes part in anything.

He is somewhat rehabilitated, or is he really? There is an intellectual narrator voice here in contrast to the violent acting of McKidd. Everything becomes too obvious, but that doesn't make things easier to understand.

A failure and only halfway interesting.
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1/10
Sad, boring & pointless!
pok-117 May 2003
This film was a yawn from titles to credits, it's boring to the point of tedium and the acting is wooden and stilted! Admittedly this was director Richard Jobson directing debut, but who on earth green-lit a script as poorly developed as this one? Looks like another money down the drain government project (Scottish Screen are credited surprise, surprise). I nearly fell asleep three times and my review will unfortunately have to be more restrained than this one. Please, please mister Jobson what ever you've been doing prior to directing this sedative of a film, go back to it!
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6/10
Give the guy a break, it was quite good
anna-maclean3 August 2004
I'm not a huge film buff but I went to see a screening of this film at the GFT in Glasgow on Monday and Richard Jobson was giving a Q & A afterwards.

Thought his answers to the audience were good and definitely helped make sense of the film a bit much. He made some really good points about the types of films coming out of Scotland these days and how he was trying to get away from that drab reality style we're used to seeing.

it's worth seeing anyway, I wouldn't write it off straight away.
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8/10
Passionate, occasionally pompous film debut from film man Jobson
Tom May16 May 2010
Excellent film about the problem of alcoholism; a problem keenly felt in the director's native Scotland.

There is an autobiographical veracity about the whole thing, plus an intimate knowledge and use of Edinburgh locations, and songs by the magnificent Glasweigan band the Blue Nile. McKidd is a revelation as the central protagonist Frankie, Laura Fraser is, as always, effortlessly sexy.

Yes, the film is rather portentous in tone and spare in cinematic style, but that tends to suit the subject. 'Creepy and sad'? 'More dull dross from a pretentious Scotsman'? Such IMDb user criticisms seem ridiculously unjustified to me, though users have a point when they criticise the film's lack of continuity at times: the characters not changing in appearance or dress across more than a decade's time-span. It might be nitpicking, but I think these people have a point; it does kind of undermine the verisimilitude that Jobson is aiming for.

Overall, though, a fine film from that hard-boiled, all-round renaissance man, Richard Jobson. It seems some of his subsequent films seem less promising; a shame, as this film suggests that he could make films up there with the better Neil Jordan fare.
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5/10
Alcoholism
pcboss-gothwal22 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
All illicit drugs have a set of paraphernalia associated with them - tools that drug users use to carry, process or administer the drugs. These pictures can help identify various paraphernalia associated with illicit drug use. If you suspect someone is using drugs, finding any of these items could signal a problem. Alcohol and drug use can progress into abuse and even addiction so insidiously that sometimes people do not realize that it has become a problem for them and those around them. The following self-assessment tests can help you determine whether or not it may be time to get help.

------------------------

jems

--------------------

http://www.alcoholisminformation.org - http://www.alcoholisminformation.org
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9/10
Covered in Cobwebs
scoob-93 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
To say this movie is about only alcoholism is losing the point. It's about growing up in a world of alcoholism. The best example is when the young boy is sitting in the room with his parents and they are clutching their alcoholic drinks and are covered with cobwebs. His parents aren't there. Sure they are there physically but the are lost in their own drunken worlds. And here is a young confused boy who needs guidance and knowledge of the world. Meanwhile his parents are off drinking and neglecting him in plain sight. So the rest of his years he struggles to define what it is to be normal, what is it to be in love, why people lie and act fake. His argument with the acting professor is not only about acting but it's a young boy as man trying to figure out why people are always acting and faking things.

He struggles to express himself and his emotions. And he models the behavior of his parents and turns to alcohol himself. He has no model of love from a philandering alcoholic father so he struggles with love too.

In short this is about being a child of alcohol and becoming one yourself, because the only thing you can remember from childhood is your parents covered in cobwebs clutching their own drinks.

I can see why this movie isn't rated as high as it should be. The accents are thick for your average American and you may need closed captioning to make out some of the dialog.
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1/10
For masochists or the mindless only!
paul_a13 August 2004
I feel like I've been had, the con is on, don't fall for it. After reading glowing reviews (the Director was a film reviewer with Sky for years so must have a lot of mates in the press ready to do him a favour by writing favorable reviews) I expected solid acting, atmosphere, suspense, strong characterization, an intriguing plot development and poetic moments. Sadly, 'Sixteen years of Alcohol', doesn't deliver on the critics promises, for the most part, sacrifices these qualities in lieu of cheesy low budget special effects (what was that clichéd cobweb scene in there for?), unrealistic fight choreography and mindless mind numbing narration, cliché edits and camera angles.

'Sixteen years of Alcohol' starts off interestingly with some beautiful location shots in Scotland, but it's straight downhill from here. Unfortunately, instead of spending some time building atmosphere, creating characters we might care about, or building suspense - the director opts to begin driving you crazy with self indulgent heavy handed twaddle voice-over's. The lead characters are so unsympathetic and are so badly acted - the audience doesn't care what happens to them, desperate Actors do desperate things...like this movie!. To make matters worse, the 'homage's' (typical of a director trying to pay his dues to past masters) are either utterly cliché or unconvincing. The soundtrack is the only thing that lifted me and kept me in the cinema but even that failed to support the dramatic narrative other connecting a period of time to the action.

For some reason the movie got increasingly flawed and to be quite honest annoying. I still watched the whole damn thing!

I guess I liked the attempt at gritty realism in the film but even that was destroyed when they were often inter-cut with weird and abstract, sometimes pointless scenes. You don't need a huge budget to make truly moving film, so much has been said about how little money they had to make this film, half a million is not a little bit of money...SO NO EXCUSES! Sometimes I wonder what the actors...Or their agents were thinking!

Pass on this turkey unless you're masochistic or mindless anyway....NOT MY THING

1.5/10
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