The Angels’ Share: Ken Loach and Paul Laverty lift Scotland’s kilts to expose its darker parts

Martin-Jones, D. (2013) The Angels’ Share: Ken Loach and Paul Laverty lift Scotland’s kilts to expose its darker parts. Senses of Cinema, 66,

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The Angels’ Share (2012) is a Cannes Jury Prize winning film. Given this accolade it seems a little surprising that the film’s central focus is whisky. Whisky and young Scots in kilts, to be precise. Yet more surprises are in store. This Ken Loach film, with screenplay by regular collaborator Paul Laverty, is far from their usual fare. Although there is plenty of gritty social realism initially, The Angels’ Share is ultimately a heist movie with a perky, upbeat ending. This is very unlike their previous films set in Scotland. Sweet Sixteen (2002), for instance, similarly tackles youth, unemployment, violence, drugs and urban decay but in a much darker vein. By contrast, The Angels’ Share is an engaging, funny and thoughtful film, blending its depictions of hard urban realities with tongue-in-cheek humour and moments of slapstick. This cocktail of elements in the film’s greatest achievement, the successful mixing of comedy and suspense with a thoughtful look at the difficulties of post-industrial youth in deprived inner cities. In this it has international appeal as something of a humorous Scots Boyz n the Hood (1991), albeit without the guns and famous rappers. This is a film about disenfranchised teens living dead-end lives for whom an unlikely ticket out of their hometown offers an escape from generational cycles of violence. Fortunately, this serious subject matter is dealt with without preaching, and with enough beautiful Scottish Highland scenery to offer a flavour that can be savoured by a wide audience.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Senses of Cinema

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