Feel-good caper worth a wee dram or two


KEN Loach is often pegged as a dour, earnest director, which is only half fair. His Iraq War thriller Route Irish may have fizzled out, but this latest collaboration with screenwriter Paul Laverty proves the pair can pull off a genre entertainment with aplomb when in the mood.

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The Angel's Share - trailer

Director Ken Loach's The Angel's Share, winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes.

The genre in question is the feelgood caper, where a group of supposed losers go up against the system and triumph.

After a comic prologue, the film begins in Loach's familiar gritty mode. Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is a young Glasgow hoodlum striving to go straight after the birth of his son - though the scar on his face makes it hard for him to find work.

Reviewer rating


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Name The Angels' Share
Genre Comedy
Director Ken Loach
Screen Writer
Actors Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw
OFLC rating MA 15+

The Angels' Share

Full synopsis

Sentenced to community service, he finds a mentor in his supervisor Harry (John Henshaw) an ordinary decent chap with a love of whisky.

Robbie, too, proves to have a keen nose for the stuff - and when he hears of the discovery of a rare, priceless cask, he conceives an audacious plan.

Loach being Loach, the story has political implications, but these are more teasing than definitive. The world of high-end whisky connoisseurship is depicted as an elite club, but one prepared to welcome gifted outsiders.

In terms of style Loach is anything but a radical. Still, he handles the mechanics of humour and suspense at least as well as, say, Ben Affleck in Argo. His technique is generally so ''invisible'' even small flourishes can register strongly: in a tense auction scene, he flash-pans from one bidder to another, suggesting the anxiety of Robbie's gang as they await the result.

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