‘The Angels’ Share’ has Ken Loach on decent though tonally jarring comedic form

- Advertisement -


The Angels’ Share
Written by Paul Laverty
Directed by Ken Loach
UK/France, 2012

Though often associated with social realism, a few of Ken Loach’s films have possessed a comedic streak, and his latest film has more in common with the likes of Looking for Eric than it does Kes or The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Transforming into a heist caper in its second half, The Angels’ Share bears resemblances to the much beloved Ealing comedies, most obviously Whisky Galore with which it shares the common thread of whisky theft. There’s also some clear inspiration from Bill Forsyth’s films of Scottish youth in Loach and regular writing partner Paul Laverty’s focus on young, wily Glasgow-based men and women; much of the film’s most successful comedy thrives on Scottish colloquialisms. This comedic leaning represents one aspect of Loach’s brand of filmmaking, but the film’s first half is mostly full of his more grim tendencies despite some laughs, and the disorienting shifts in tone don’t always work.

The Angels’ Share’s narrative concerns young offender Robbie (newcomer Paul Brannigan), who while performing community service is mentored by a sympathetic, whisky-loving social worker (John Henshaw). Caught in a cycle of criminality, rivals, violence and long-term unemployment, the struggling Robbie discovers he has natural abilities as a whisky connoisseur. Spotting a chance to turn his life around and become a reliable new father, Robbie hatches a scheme with some of his fellow offenders to secretly extract just enough of an extremely rare cask of whisky, on auction in the Scottish highlands, in order to finance plans to escape the region and start anew with his girlfriend and newborn son.

In the film’s first half, convincing depictions of the real consequences of a criminal lifestyle are portrayed and articulated, and there is an excruciatingly painful, believable scene in which Robbie must confront a half-blind former victim, scarred for life, and his still furious family. As such, it is quite jarring and often frustrating when these various points are set aside for notions that further crime, albeit one free of violence, is a justifiable solution; despite the arguable harmlessness of the theft, the rarity of the product and the media attention behind it still renders it a colossal infraction that could make Robbie and company’s situation even worse, but this sort of point is never brought up by Laverty’s screenplay. Additionally, while a lot of the character’s comedy amuses, the repeated mocking of one member of the team’s ignorance seems unusually mean-spirited from decidedly socialist filmmakers fond of promoting working class voices. The audience relationship with that character speaks quite well in regards to the film as a whole: it’s funny, but there’s a frequent sense of unease regarding the comedy’s relation to everything else.

Josh Slater-Williams





10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
20 Different Types of Balloons
12 Different Types of Tubas (Plus Interesting Facts)
Minivan loaded with beach stuff for day at the beach
The Ultimate Beach Checklist When Taking Young Kids to the Beach
Boy playing a trombone
10 Different Types of Trombones (Plus Fun Facts)
28 Different Types of Pineapple
20 Different Types of Limes
Table with a variety of nuts in bowls
20 Most Popular Types of Nuts (with Nutrition Fact Charts)
Bowl of cooked broccoli with walnuts
20 Types of Broccoli
Motorhome on highway going through Bryce Canyon in the USA
13 Types of RV’s (Recreational Vehicles) for All Kinds of Vacation Fun
Mechanic working on car in garage
10 Gift Ideas for Mechanics (Under $20, $50, $100 and $200)
A mechanic is repairing a car brake.
5 Different Types of Brake Pads and 6 Different Types of Brakes
9 Cool Minivan Alternatives
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
16 Types of Barbells for All Types of Lifts and Workouts
Basketball player slam dunking
29 Great Gift Ideas for Basketball Players (Under $20, $50, $100 and $200)
Inside a beautiful spa business
6 Capabilities the Best Spa Scheduling and Business Software Should Have
Ballet dancers in a dance studio
7 Features of the Best Dance Studio Business Software (Checklist)
Massage therapy clinic
7 Types of Massage Therapist Software for Growing the Business
10 Features the Best Hair Salon Scheduling Business Software Offer (Checklist)
Natural herbal vitamins.
10 of the Best Online Vitamin Stores
>