Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/10/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 07/10/2013 8:13 AM | Updates
The "angels' share" of the title refers to the amount of Scotch whisky that predictably disappears in casks. The true culprit is evaporation, but you can trust Scottish wit to invoke tippling seraphim. Director Ken Loach likewise dances a fine line between mundane reality and fanciful fictionalizing with this tale of a young man eager to put his criminal past behind him when he becomes a father.
A former street hoodlum, Robbie (Paul Brannigan) wants to make amends for past misdeeds and steer clear of his thuggish associates for the sake of Leonie (Siobhan Reilly), the woman he loves, especially as she prepares to give birth.
But Robbie's unwillingness to back away from a fight has already landed him doing 300 hours of community service (the Scottish more bluntly refer to the program as "payback") under the stern but benevolent guidance of program honcho Harry (John Henshaw).
Harry recognizes Robbie as a lad sincere in his desire to go straight, but between threats by a lifelong rival and Leonie's own disapproving dad, his future in Glasgow looks bleak.
Robbie unexpectedly finds an opportunity for a way out when Harry introduces him to the world of whisky connoisseurship. At a tasting, Robbie proves to have a discerning nose for whisky, and when he and some of his fellow misfits in the payback program hear about the auction of a fabled lost cask of Malt Mill, he sees a way to finally escape the downward spiral.
Ken Loach is a 77-year-old social-realist filmmaker long celebrated for his sympathetic take on rough, working-class characters.
The Angels' Share certainly qualifies for that description, but in its third act, it also takes on the suspenseful properties of a heist thriller, albeit one in which the assembled team of thieves is hilariously under-qualified, including the nitwit Albert (Gary Maitland), the yahoo Rhino (William Ruane) and the compulsive klepto Mo (Jasmin Riggins).
Most filmmakers would trip over themselves making Robbie a nice, misunderstood hero, but Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty offer such dark shadings to the character most Hollywood filmmakers wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot Zac Efron. This is especially evident in a sequence in which Robbie is obliged to attend a court-ordered meeting with a young man he assaulted while in the psychotic depths of a cocaine binge.
Shame is a relatively rare attribute of most movie heroes. It's just not sexy.
That makes this hero all the more refreshing, as is the film, with its notes of earthy wit, its curiously potent suspense, and above all, its generous spirit.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2013 D3
Updated on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 8:13 AM CDT: adds fact box, fixes headline
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
'No Good Deed' slays 'Guardians' at box office
Clooney to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award
Police: Protocol followed in detention of actress
Fest features teen lust, walrus masks and a bit of Boogaloo
'The Imitation Game' wins top prize at TIFF
'No Good Deed' defeats 'Guardians' at theatres
Kingsley keeps busy with 12 projects
Canadian Press on favourite TIFF moments
'Foxcatcher,' 'Imitation Game' among TIFF best
Homelessness, poverty onscreen at TIFF
'Flight of the Conchords' star plays undead
TIFF takes its final curtain call for 2014
Travolta channelled inner Monet for 'Forger'
Actor for hire: Speedman looking for work
Denys Arcand has no plans to retire
Theatre and cinema marry at TIFF
Robert Downey Jr.'s son pleads guilty in drug case
'The Artist' director on his darker new film
Nicole Kidman's father dies in Singapore
Feel-good Dolphin story not fin-ished
Kansas City, Manitoba
The late James Gandolfini returns in final hard-boiled role
Kroll explains his love affair with Canada
'Franchise will always be with me':Christensen
Doc delves into the man behind the thumb
Biopics hit TIFF, but how accurate are they?
McHale a jerk again in 'Adult Beginners'
Tom Hardy missed plot point on 'The Drop'
Julianne Moore 'devastated' by 'Still Alice'
'Imitation Game' filming location 'ghostly'
Life in the flexible Lehane
New on DVD/VOD
Toronto filmmaker Nadda to make HBO show
David Lynch visits Philly for exhibit on his art
Zombie creator Romero unimpressed by today's horror
John Cusack on celebrity-obsessed culture
At 40, Brooks' 'Frankenstein' proves forever young