The Angels Share

  • Running Length:1hr 41mins
  • Cast:John Henshaw, Ken Loach
  • Rated:R16 - Contains violence and offensive language

Session Times

    UK, 2012
    Running Length: 101 minutes
    Cast: Paul Brannigan, Sobihan Reilly, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, William Ruan
    Director: Ken Loach
    Screenplay: Paul Laverty
    Cinematography: Robbie Ryan

    Ken Loach is best known for his gritty, socio-realist stories of the working class in Britain. While this film doesn’t shy away from the grim realities faced by ex-cons in Glasgow, it has far more laugh out loud humour than you’d expect from a Ken Loach film.

    Robbie is a young thug who has been sentenced to community service after yet another assault charge for fighting with a rival and his family. He’s desperate to change. His young girlfriend is pregnant and Robbie wants to be a good father. When Harry, the work-gang’s foreman, takes the team on a field trip to a distillery, Robbie’s curiosity is piqued, especially by the ‘Angel’s Share’ – the name given to the whiskey lost to evaporation during the distilling process.

    As he learns more about whiskey, and drags his new friends from community service along to his tastings, he realizes some whiskies are worth more than others. When he discovers an extremely rare cask is up for auction in the Scottish Highlands, he figures out that just a few bottles would be enough to set he and his friends up for life.

    And from here the film rollicks along until it’s satisfyingly hilarious and touching conclusion.

    The actors, all largely unknowns are universally good while occasionally their thick brogues are difficult to understand. The only character who seemed out of place was Robbie’s girlfriend whose father is a heavy nightclub owning gangster. That she could be so sweet and pure with a father like that seems unlikely to say the least.

    The first and second halves of the film are very different in tone, but somehow the transition between the bleak social commentary and Ealing-like farce is smooth enough not to clash.

    Funny, sweet and enormously satisfying, this film will definitely have you leaving the theatre with a smile on your face.

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