Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Angel's Share - Preview

Ken Loach, the award winning and critically acclaimed director, has long been admired but following on from his Palme D'or win at Cannes in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, he is currently enjoying his most consistent and sustainable piece of bankable films.

After the Cannes victory he followed up with Its A Free World..(2007), Looking for Eric (2009) and Route Irish (2010).

Now Loach returns to Scotland, a place where he has shot films before - My Name is Joe (1998), Sweet Sixteen (2002) and Ae Fond Kiss (2004) - and continues his creative partnership with Paul Laverty, his esteemed screenwriter for The Angel's Share.

The story centres around Robbie, a young father who after narrowly avoiding a prison sentence meets three lost souls (Rhino, Albert, Mo) during community service who like him want a better life for some reason.  Robbie wants to avoid his newborn child having the same trouble as him, yet like the others he cannot get work because of his criminal record.

Yet on a visit to a whiskey distillery, Robbie finds the answer may lie in drink where the most obscure and reserved whiskies are sold for huge profits at auction.  Robbie and his friends have the nose.

Following in the tradition of The Full Monty or Waking Ned, the trailer promises a laugh a minute, with some insightful character observation from aspirational figures, some great cameo roles by policeman and nuns.  Yet this is also a calling card for Scottish tourism also, set in and around Edinburgh the distilleries and grandeur of Edinburgh castle get a good location shots.

Yet for Loach, this may well be the most laissez-faire film of his storied career.  Whilst, he has always been wise to having an underbelly of humour in his more serious films, and vice versa; he has never done an out and out comedy in this vein before.

Also helping is Loach's touch of finding young, unknown talent like he did with Martin Compston in Sweet Sixteen and years ago, Brian Glover in Kes (1969); on this occasion he has found Paul Brannigan as Robbie, a young man who has a notable scar on his face which adds authenticity to his past plight.  Brannigan is shepherded by some stellar veteran actors Roger Allam and John Henshaw.

The title from the film refers to the 2% of whiskey lost to the air whenever a barrel is opened - The Angel's Share - as the tagline says, Enjoy Responsibly from June 1st.

Watch the trailer here

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