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During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
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This bitter sweet comedy follows protagonist Robbie as he sneaks into the maternity hospital to visit his young girlfriend Leonie and hold his newborn son Luke for the first time. Overwhelmed by the moment, he swears that Luke will not have the same tragic life he has had. Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, he's given one last chance......While serving a community service order, he meets Rhino, Albert and Mo who, like him, find it impossible to find work because of their criminal records. Little did Robbie imagine how turning to drink might change their lives - not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world. Will it be 'slopping out' for the next twenty years, or a new future with 'Uisge Beatha' the 'Water of Life?' Only the angels know........ Written by
Rebecca O'Brien, producer
Charles McLean, the whisky expert, is the genuine article and the only one of the cast to see the script in its entirety. See more »
When Harry is discussing Robbie's life of crime with him, he says that Robbie wouldn't want to miss his son growing up. This is discussed before the child is born. Later, when Luke (Robbie's son) is born, it is clear that no one knew that he would be a boy before the event. See more »
Growing up in tough working class Glasgow and then finding nirvana in Scotch Whisky
The Angels' Share (2012)
A deceptively simple movie that builds slowly and is mixture of outrageous fun and touching social commentary.
The main young man, Robbie (Paul Brannigan), has been convicted of a violent crime and is trying to get his life together. His girlfriend is about to have his baby, his old rival is out to get him, and he can't get a job. He also has to do community service, which leads him to the main plota growing love of whiskey, a gift with his nose, and an eventual plot to steal some of the rarest of the liquid.
It's this last part that dominates the second half of the movie, and it's fun, for sure, but also a little contrived compared to the first half which has a gritty realism to it. Brannigan, and all his supporting actors, is really good. If you don't know Scottish movies, be prepared for some major swearing by everyone. And the Netflix version of the movie has the subtitles on because the accent makes a lot of the movie hard to hear. (I think you'd be better off without them, however, and just get most of it without the distraction of reading.)
You might be able to read into the serious parts of the movie and see a valid commentary about the strength of community service, and about the rough life on the streets of Glasgow. But this is more the hard nails backdrop to make the clever, and rather fun (almost joyous) secondary plot shine brighter. It works. The movie pulls it together seamlessly (maybe a hair too seamlessly by the end, as you'll see).
So, yes, an enjoyable surprise.
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