Going to the Movies – The Angels’ Share

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Going to the Movies is written by Mount Vernon Triangle resident Catherine Taegel.

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see the Scottish film, “The Angels’ Share”, at E Street Cinema. (I try to never read reviews or in-depth descriptions of movies before I go see them so everything is fresh.) When subtitles appeared on the screen before a word was spoken I was nervous. Not that I mind subtitles, but I tend to get distracted by reading the words that I miss out on parts of the movie. Soon though thick Scottish accents filled the air and the subtitles were more of a guide than a necessity.

The movie focuses on young Robbie (Paul Brannigan), who’s had rough times growing up in Glasgow. His enemies are carried through generations and his rough past has landed him in issues with the law again and again. His pregnant girlfriend wants him to get it together and her family wants him out of town. Realizing he’s probably on his last chance, Robbie focuses in on straightening out and being a good dad. While working to pay off his debt to society he becomes a part of a “community repayment” program and forms bonds with several of the other members of the group.

Continues after the jump.

Harry (John Henshaw), the father-like figure who manages the community repayment program, takes a particular interest in helping Robbie. On a day off from the community repayment program, Harry takes members of the group to tour a whiskey distillery. Down on himself and certain he’ll never get a job, Robbie takes an interest in whiskey – how it’s made and it’s different tastes. His delinquent mates entertain the new hobby and follows his lead. There isn’t too much debauchery between them but “cunt” was uttered often throughout the film. Crass but kind – with the exception of one scene – the humor never went too far.

The focus on whiskey and chance encounters took the film from Glasgow into the hills of Scotland. The film was clever and self-effacing. No one tried too hard and the film had a strangely natural flow. Paul Brannigan plays Robbie well – cool, vulnerable, and likeable all at the same time. He is a clear film leader and his absurd mates – Mo, the klepto; Albert, the shmuck, and Rhino, the doofus – play off of him well. Harry – the lovable father figure – was by far my favorite and although he didn’t end up having a large amount of time on screen his presence was felt throughout the film.

Offbeat, heartfelt, and genuine. A 2012 Cannes Film ‘Jury Prize’ winner, “The Angels’ Share” is a humorous, enjoyable film. It kept the audience laughing but had a tenderness all its own.

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