This was one of those movies that you would have had to seek out. It didn’t make the cinema and went straight to DVD release obscurity. Yet this, amusing Scottish comedy, about a young Glaswegian man who finds himself on just the wrong side of the law, escapes a prison sentence decides that he isn’t going to have his new born baby live the same life as he.
So while doing his community service, he discovers he has a unique talent for determining the quality of whiskey through taste. He can tell the difference between the top of the line single malts and the cheap supermarket tripe.
When whiskey is distilled and aged through the years, a significant portion is lost through evaporation. This is known as the angels’ share. Whiskey, or at least good whiskey, is sunlight trap in water. This movie captures very well the essence of the mystic and beauty in a single malt without Hollywood’ising the experience.
The fact the cast is largely unknown disallows the actors ego not get in the way of this wonderful story. The opening scene, with the drunk staggering around on train station, with the station announcer telling him to step back, is laugh-out-of-loud. If you don’t find that scene (voiced by Still Games
Ford Kiernan) funny, then I advise you stop viewing at that point.
Ken Loach is the director behind this little gem. Loach, for my generation was the man that brought us the emotional rollercoaster that was Kes. Loach, like
Bill Forsyth, has the ability to show a real depiction of life without over glamorizing and pulling out the natural comedy from the situation we find the characters.
Angels Share, is another one of those movies, that sadly finds it hard to win an audience outside of the UK, or even dare I say, Scotland. I found myself howling at some of the scenes, wondering how you even script the lines, because it feels so familiar and natural that I can’t imagine anyone having to
write the lines. Doesn’t it write itself??
There is some harsh violent scenes for sure, playing on the hard Glasgow image. But the setup allows us to follow the transition from bad guy to good guy, with the help of Harry. Harry is the community service officer who takes a shine to our hero and helps him transform. Harry is that character that everyone in life needs, but at the time, don’t realize you do need him. Someone that believes in you, but isn’t going to take any of your nonsense and kicks you into shape and helps you. We all have our Harry. The trick is, knowing who Harry is.
The story here, while weaved around whiskey and Glasgow, is a classic redemption story. The mentor taking the sibling through its paces and inspiring.
If you could stick through
Trainspotting then you will manage this one with no problems. If you couldn’t, then use this one as a warm up to Trainspotting.
Tuesday, 27th October 2015 (San Francisco Marriott)