The Angels’ Share

“There is love, laughter and whisky galore in Ken Loach’s unusually joyful comedy drama.” — Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter

Director: Ken Loach
Year: 2012
Country: Belgium, France, Italy, UK
Running time: 101 mins
Censor Rating: R16 - violence and offensive language

Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
Screenplay: Paul Laverty
Photography: Robbie Ryan
Editor: Jonathan Morris
Production designer: Fergus Clegg
Costume designer: Carole K. Fraser
Music: George Fenton

With: Paul Brannigan (Robbie), Siobhan Reilly (Leonie), John Henshaw (Harry), Gary Maitland (Albert), William Ruane (Rhino), Jasmin Riggins (Mo), Scott Dymond (Willy), Scott Kyle (Clancy), Neil Leiper (Sniper), James Casey (Dougie), Caz Dunlop (Caz)

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2012

Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2012

“The Angels’ Share is a poetic expression for the small quantity of Scotch whisky that evaporates through the sides of the cask during maturation… It is also the name of Ken Loach’s smokily satisfying new comedy; the sole British contender for the Palme D’Or at Cannes this year. It is a crime caper set on the west coast of Scotland, complex on the palate but with a lasting toasty finish, and framed by one of the social realist, working class narratives that Loach has made his trademark… 

Screen newcomer Paul Brannigan is a wholly convincing 20-something muddle of wisecracks and frustrations as Robbie, one of a group of young offenders who work in a court-mandated ‘community payback scheme’ supervised by the jocular foreman Harry (Loach regular John Henshaw)… When Harry offers him a dram of a rare single malt to celebrate the birth of his son, Robbie has a very literal spiritual epiphany. He and his friends twig that the proceeds from a single barrel of the stuff, liberated from a sleepy highland distillery, would give all four of them enough money to clear their debts and start afresh… 

Loach and his regular screenwriter Paul Laverty won the Palme D’Or in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, but this is a subtler, less inflammatory piece. Laverty, who grew up in Glasgow, and Loach’s cast have a fine ear for the trickling, glugging rhythms of modern Scots, scorching expletives and all. Every scene is a pleasure to listen to; many are also knee-slappingly funny… This is British comedy at its warmest and most pleasurable; cask strength, unfiltered and neat.” — Robbie Collin, The Telegraph


NZIFF STAFF PICK: Sharon Byrne, Brooke Hawe

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