7 out of 10

Released: 1st June 2012

Director:  Ken Loach ( I, Daniel Blake / Jimmy’s Hall   / Route Irish / Looking for Eric /The Wind That Shakes The Barley / My Name Is Joe / Carla’s Song / Land and Freedom / Ae Fond Kiss / Ladybird Ladybird / Riff Raff / Raining Stones / Kes )

Cast:  Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, William Ruane,  Jasmin Riggins, Siobhan Reilly  and Roger Allam

Writer:  Paul Laverty


I don’t usually go out of way to see Ken Loach’s films.  Generally I’ll read the synopsis or catch the trailer and walk past.  As it is I have seen probably one to every three films he makes, the most recent before The Angel’s Share being Looking For Eric.  The latter was pitched as Ken Loach’s first comedy. If thats the case The Angel’s Share is most definitely his second.  For me this film won out thanks to the humour and the excellent and naturalistic performances.  The shenanigans of this unlikely heist movie begin by introducing the sorry bunch via their current spell in the dock.  The incredulity of the judge twinned with some very funny flashbacks to the capers make this one of the funniest Brit-Pics for a long while. Sadly, the comedy doesn’t find a way back into the plot until well into the second hour.

The main plot focuses around a ‘ne-er do well’ new father (Paul Brannigan) who narrowly escapes jail. On his community service work gang he falls in with the foreman, a Mancunian played by John Henshaw (LOOKING FOR ERIC) who is a whiskey fanatic.  This gives our unlikely hero an unlikely way out of his daily run of skirmishes with family and a way to prove to his young girlfriend that he can secure the fresh start they need.  The possiblity of stealing an expensive vintage whisky presents itself during a visit to a whiskey factory puts the comedy spin back into what was beginning to become a re-run of Sweet Sixteen.

The plot is fun to watch and behold as these supposed no-hopers make off with the gold with nary an obstacle.  We assume there’s virtually no security because the event is quite exclusive and is based on insider knowledge to which you average Glaswegian council estate resident is not privvy.  Most of the cast are first timers or have almost exclusively worked for Ken Loach in his previous films but I wish them well with their careers because not a one of them strikes an off note.

Wonderful acting, funny script (I won’t spoil any of the jokes) and beautiful highland locations. Recommended for fans of heists with a difference,  natural comedy, Scotland, whiskey and a very serious British auteur having a good time.  Nice one, Ken. For me, if not your best, my favourite.

7 out of 10



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