Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
United Kingdom/France, 1999. Pathé Pictures International, BBC Films, Arts Council of England, Les Productions Lazennec, Canal+, Holy Cow Films. Screenplay by Lynne Ramsay. Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchler. Produced by Gavin Emerson. Music by Rachel Portman. Production Design by Jane Morton. Costume Design by Gill Horn. Film Editing by Lucia Zucchetti.
In Lynne Ramsay’s startling debut feature, a young boy in 1970s Scotland is plunged into guilt and despair when he accidentally drowns a neighbour in the canal near their housing complex. He continues his dreary existence in his working-class neighbourhood, playing (or fighting) with the other kids, befriending a put-upon girl, and waiting for the local council to approve a new house for his struggling family, while trying to put up with the mess that’s been created by a local garbage strike. Countless images of stark beauty are captured by Ramsay’s highly original style, keeping it interesting even when sequences don’t always hold you in thrall.
The Criterion Collection: #162
Toronto International Film Festival: 1999