The Angels’ Share screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival Forgiveness is a powerful human trait. There are very few people who actually deserve it, but it can be a blessing for a new life for those willing to genuinely accept a second chance. The redemptive path is paved with laughter and charm in director Ken Loach’s new film The Angels’ Share.
A group of social misfits are sentenced to serve community service for different misdemeanors. Under the care of a community worker, Harry (John Henshaw) the individuals repay their debt with manual labour. As a reward for their hard work, Harry takes them to a distillery where he discovers that the young thug Robbie (Paul Brannigan) may have a special talent.
From the opening scene Loach establishes the Scottish sense of humour that is ingrained into the film. The comedy has an edge that makes the situation feel real considering the social situation of the leads thanks to lively characters and very colourful language.
Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty are astute not to make this film a superficial comedy by making the story count as much as the laughs do. A majority of the drama comes from the life of Robbie and the violence that has plagued his life. The character is not easy to sympathise with but you want to see him break the cycle of pain in his life. It’s a wonderful performance by Brannigan and brings a lot of heart to the film.
The supporting players are all fantastic including Henshaw and the rest of the merry band of loners played by Jasmin Riggins, William Ruane and Gary Maitland who provides many of the film’s highlights.
A small warning, bring your best hearing to The Angels’ Share because the Scottish accents are very thick. Even though it’s not the fault of the filmmaker, jokes or an important piece of dialogue may be missed which could sully the experience – your full attention or a hearing aid is required.
The Angels’ Share is very reminiscent of the initial underdog status of ‘The Full Monty’ and mixes mirth with tears beautifully.
The Angels’ Share currently does not have a release date in Australia or U.S.A.