Movie Review:Young Adam
Alternate Title: : The Rake From Glasgow
Story: Take a walk down the dark side of human nature in director and screenwriter David Mackenzie's new film. Are we all, on some level, primal, morally bankrupt, base and sin-filled? These are some of the intriguing questions that come to mind as I think about this introspective film. It is based on the book by cult Scottish author Alexander Trocchi (whose own story could be a film, for sure).
It is filmed almost entirely on the canals surrounding Glasgow where a barge freights goods from town to town. Like the barge, the story is slow paced and character driven. Its story is revealed in a nonlinear fashion which demands your attention.
It is the 1950s and young Joe (our representational first man, 'Adam') is the live-in help on a barge owned by a woman who also shares these cramped quarters with her young son and husband. The opening scene reveal a woman's partially clad dead body as it is dredged out of the water. The 'who-dunit' becomes more of a 'wha-happened' as the story progresses.
There is lots of raw sex, nudity, gritty cinematography and great music. It is a noir piece with a capital 'N'. You will want to take a good long shower when you leave the theater. This is not a film for everyone and it does not take the usual Hollywood ending to make everything turn out all right.
Acting: I am smitten with Ewen McGregor. I have liked his work ever since I first saw him in Trainspotting years ago. This dark film returns him to his roots away from the lighter fare that he has been cast in recent years. He is a star and has the quality and charisma that bursts across the screen. Tilda Swinton (Orlando) is a fascinating actress. I think her casting was a spark of genius as the barge owner. Emily Mortimer and Peter Mullan round out this stellar group.
Predilection: I like Ewan MacGregor and will see him in any film.
Critters: A swan, a fly and a horse.
Food: Gruel, eggs and lots of cups of tea all coming from the small galley kitchen.
Visual Art: There isn't any art per se, but many of the below deck scenes reminded me of Van Gogh's Potato Eater series. The beautiful flat landscape that emerges as the barge floats along could easily have been a plein air painting.
Blatant Product Placement: None.
Soundtrack: Wonderful track by David Byrne (another favorite of mine).
Opening Titles: Simple white type at the bottom of the screen as we watch the dead body float along the river.
Theater Audience: About a dozen guys and me.
Sappy Factor: Dream on!
Quirky Meter: 2
Squirm Scale: A '0' for me...but I think some of the raw sex scenes might be a bit squirmy for the feint of heart,
Predictability Level: Low.
Oscar Worthy: No.
Nit Picking: No nits to pick but lots of grime from the coal being loaded onto the barges.
Big Screen or Rental: If you have the guts the big screen would be a fine idea. For some other fine Tilda Swinton performances, try renting: Orlando, Adaptation, The War Zone, The Beach and Love is the Devil.
Length: 90 Minutes.
LOBO HOWLS: 7