Review – The Angel’s Share

the-angels-share

The Angel’s Share

Ken Loach

2012, UK

A group of criminals bundled together for community service attempt to shake off the lives they have made for themselves.

Robbie, a young man with a long history of trouble is falling apart at the seams. He is a new father with too many enemies and needs to catch a break. He befriends Harry, a community service worker with a taste for whiskey. Robbie discovers a passion for the spirit himself and before long he is taste testing with the masters. After another close call he decides enough is enough and he must go to desperate lengths to finally be rid of his past.

Just like a nice wee dram, Ken Loach seems to be mellowing with age. After Looking for Eric was released to acclaim, he and screenwriter Paul Laverty seemed eager to get back into slightly more whimsical territory with The Angel’s Share, though it’s important to say that like Looking for Eric, they never turn their backs on their roots. The first half of the film falls very easily into Loach’s style: affecting drama with the focus on the socially downtrodden. There is a scene in which the victim of the protagonist’s crime in which he finds himself with community service describes the night he was attacked. It is a touching piece of acting and makes you question the loyalty you have for this character who the story wants you to follow, but Loach tries his best to show Robbie as a victim as well, a victim of circumstance, of fate.  As the film moves on and the plot develops we find ourselves quickly embroiled inside a caper with a kleptomaniac, a vandal, a thug and an idiot. They decide to steal some very rare whiskey by visiting the auction of the sauce, hiding and ciphering it into Iron-Bru bottles. This is the part of the film that, if you are with it, you will cheer them to freedom. If you are not with it you won’t care one way or the other. I was with it. Even though the plot is silly the intention is spot on, the performances are credible and the poignancy is as strong as the barrels of whiskey from which they long to cipher.

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