The Angels' Share Blu-ray
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Directed by Ken Loach
Produced in 2012
Main Language - English
The director is on fine form with this funny, moving whisky-heist caper that evokes the spirit of Ealing comedies, notably Whisky Galore!, writes Alex Davidson.
The work of Ken Loach is often regarded as being downbeat - unfairly, given the light touch he brought to the delightful Looking for Eric and the warm humour evident in almost all his films. The Angels' Share finally explodes this myth; it is a funny, moving caper comedy that evokes Ealing comedies, notably Whisky Galore!.
Our hero Robbie (Paul Brannigan in his debut) is a young father continually on the wrong side of the law and loathed by the family of his girlfriend, who violently assault him when he tries to visit her in hospital. A paternal friendship evolves with his community service leader, who helps him discover his natural gift for identifying quality whisky. This triggers the idea for an elaborate theft of a rare malt that could forever change the lives of Robbie and his friends.
Loach doesn't shy away from showing the darker side of Robbie's life. Poverty plagues the Glasgow estates where the characters live, while the protagonist himself is shown to be flawed - in a chilling scene near the beginning, we see the victim of Robbie's capacity for violence. A Loach film wouldn't be a Loach film without a healthy dash of social commentary - the unscrupulous envoy played by Roger Allam is shown to have far worse morals than our budding gang of thieves. But the film has many moments of optimism, and a bawdy sensibility - the opening sequence, featuring a drunk played by Gary Maitland tottering on a railway platform, is a contender for the funniest scene of the year (Maitland, a gifted young comedy actor and Loach regular, has yet to give up his day job as a bin man).
The title of the film refers to the tiny percentage of whisky that is lost to evaporation when a cask is opened, a metaphor that applies to the scant number of people in Robbie's situation who manage to escape the grim lot that life has dealt them. This review won't spoil the ending, but thanks to Loach's sensitive direction and a host of vivid and likeable performances from a largely non-professional cast, viewers will be rooting for them all the way.
Alex Davidson on 28th August 2012
Author of 231 reviews
The Angels' Share, Ken Loach and Paul Laverty's whisky-heist comedy, finds the director on fine, funny and Cannes-winning form.
Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, the wayward and disillusioned small-time criminal and new father Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is given one last chance to turn his life around. Together with friends he makes a trip to the Highlands where he discovers that turning to drink - in this case fine malt whisky - might just change his life.
Length: 101 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: EO51601
Format: Blu-ray Colour
- Uncut 18 certificated version of the film
- Deleted Scenes
- Making-of: Distilling The Angels' Share
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