Wow, Ken Loach’s 21st movie (might be more) further deepens his fondness for documentary style movie making in Scotland. As a child I was supremely moved by Kes. My Uncle took me to see it as a 7 year old and it scared me. The anger and bitterness of a Northern life of poverty, dominated by a glowering Brian Glover as the bullying PE teacher and the innocence of the lead character played by David Bradley left me all aquiver. Since then I’ve followed Loach almost universally. Riff Raff, Raining Stones, My Name is Joe, Carla’s Song, Looking for Eric. All brilliant. All gritty, all uncompromising.
Looking For Eric raised his box office bar by ingeniously casting Cantona and described as a comedy it had the odd laugh, but was no comedy. And this in some way compares.
This man is a national treasure.
And, so, to a movie billed as a proper comedy.
Well, it is very, very funny. Paul Lavety has made sure of that with a brittle acerbic, cynical script that bowls along spewing expletives faster than you can say “see you next Tuesday”. The plot itself is a little fantastical but you can forgive that because the performances are extraordinary, not least by British TV stalwart John Henshaw in a career defining role. In some ways it’s Henshaw’s movie and the denouement, which features him, is extremely moving.
I said it was a bit fantastical but the overall effect is fantastic. At one moment gut wrenchingly violent. The completely believable East end of Glasgow Gang culture that it’s set amidst is quite shocking at times, and at others it’s laugh out loud especially with its liberal use of top notch gratuitous swearing.
Don’t take your mother (although my mother had been the week before me and loved it!).
This is a great movie. A certainty for award victories and a life affirming way to spend an afternoon or evening in the cinema.
8.5 out of 10.