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Criterion Collection: Ratcatcher [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Criterion Collection: Ratcatcher [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Morvern Callar [DVD] + Fish Tank [DVD] [2009]
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Product details

  • Actors: Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews, William Eadie, Michelle Stewart, Lynne Ramsay Jr.
  • Directors: Lynne Ramsay
  • Writers: Lynne Ramsay
  • Producers: Andrea Calderwood, Barbara McKissack, Bertrand Faivre, Gavin Emerson, Peter Gallagher
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Sep 2002
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069CF9
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,140 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Ratcatcher is the brilliant feature debut of young Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay, one of the finest new talents to emerge in world cinema during the 1990s. Her subject matter is the stuff of social realism, but she also has an exquisite eye (she trained as a cinematographer), and a vivid imagination that colours her storytelling with startling, original moments. There are quite a few rats in Ratcatcher, offering both shudders and chuckles for the viewer; but essentially this is a story about childhood, and the slow death of innocence.

It is the summer of 1973, and 12-year-old James Gillespie (William Eadie) lives with his family on a Glasgow estate that looks increasingly wretched amid a strike by dustmen. One day, James inadvertently causes his pal Ryan to drown in the murky local canal; and he flees the scene, apparently unseen. Thereafter he finds some solace in a touching friendship with an older girl, Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen) whom the other local lads just use for sexual kicks. (In a lovely scene, James and Margaret splash about in a bathtub like brother and sister, then sit together in front of the TV munching sandwiches; Ramsay excels at directing these young non-professional performers.)

James dreams of leaving the estate for one of the big new houses being built a few miles out of town. (In another fabulous sequence, he romps through the hayfield surrounding the site, under a dream-bright blue sky.) But finally James cannot escape his circumstances, any more than he can forget about his pal's untimely death.

Premiered at the Cannes Festival in 1999, Ratcatcher instantly earned Ramsay comparisons with Francois Truffaut's Les Quatre Cent Coups and Ken Loach's Kes; so you can imagine the force of her talent. But Ramsay assuredly establishes her own voice in this wonderful movie. --Richard Kelly

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By fionnghal on 30 Sep 2007
Format: DVD
I think possibly C Myers just doesn't "get" this film - possibly (and apologies if I'm wrong) thru not having witnessed the events of 70s Britain. Not just for Glasgow was this an appalling period in UK history - almost worse than depression eras before it simply because it promised so much in terms of the "better life" but only for the few. You must take the film as a metaphor for all that was going on at the time. Of course the characters are not fully developed - that was what happened to people like them at that time - no realisation of their full potential. Being under-developed in the film is part of the metaphor, as is the "dreamlike quality" - all these people had was a dream of a better life which was unlikely to be fulfilled. As is the disjointed feel - that was what their lives were - a seies of disjointed events with no direction. And what was the "bike" to do? These kids didn't have nannies or childminders; they looked out for themselves. What she is doing in the film is SURVIVING - that's what it was like. The tale is harrowing because it is a harsh picture of reality as it was then (yes, I WAS there). it is doubly harrowing because so little has changed for so many people. As a secondary school teacher I am dealing on a daily basis some thirty years on with the fall-out of lives such as those portrayed in the rat-catcher. I use the film as a discucssion point at school - horrifically so many of my pupils recognise aspects of their own lives in it.

I rate "The Ratcatcher" highly because it depicts in an artistic yet realistic way, the realities of life then (and sadly life now). Because it is essentially a metaphor, it is much more powerful than "Sweet Sixteen". My pupils would for the most part agree.

And they all get the metaphor.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peaches on 20 Feb 2010
Format: DVD
Ratcatcher is a film set in Glasgow in the 1970's. It's a poignant film about the life of a boy living on an estate, where the level of boredom is criminal, and the main activity of the kids is playing near the dangerous canal and catching rats amongst the rubbish left by the bin collectors strike. This boy witnesses his friend drowning in the canal, and he becomes more withdrawn from his family, but does befriend a girl who is basically being used as the local bike by a few of the lads. He dreams of being moved to a bigger house with a bathroom and fields. The ending will leave splinters in your heart. Excellent use of some Nick Drake music. It is perfectly paced, but if you like action and fast paced films, this is not for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Jan 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is a very hard hitting film. Set in the Glasgow tenements during the early 1970's, it tells the story of a young boy who carries a secret around with him. An ongoing theme is a strike by bin men which causes the rubbish to pile up on the streets. Rats start turning up everywhere, hence the film's title. His family, neighbours, friends and the backdrop of society around him, are all disfunctional. At times, he seems the only moderately sane person, drowning in a sea of insanity. Most of the characters are working class and live out their lives isolated in the tenements. The only time we see anyone from the outside world is when his father receives a visit from the council. If you have seen 'Nil By Mouth' then you will have an idea of the grittiness that is portrayed. But there is much here to savour. The film is the director's first outing, and this is an accomplished debut. The camera hangs on certain scenes, and there are uncomfortable silences between characters. At other times, the viewer is left to reflect on the beauty of the on screen image. The ending is somewhat inconclusive, and the viewer is left to make up their own minds as to the final outcome. Gritty, troubling and hard-hitting, a challenging but engaging film that stays with you long after the closing credits.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. L. Carroll on 7 Sep 2008
Format: DVD
Such an under-rated film, a simple heartachingly wonderful story. I could run a load of cliches to describe it, liken it to any boys story, without the misery of an Angelas Ashes or Kes, this one never gives up hope, even through the backdrop of poverty, filth and the usual alcholism/domestic violence that pervades every scene. I really wanted to find out what happened next, it was just such a good story. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By White Tea on 17 July 2010
Format: DVD
This is without doubt one of the best British films of the last twenty years. Stunningly shot, subtle, moving, tragic and funny. Recalls 1970s Glasgow with an uncanny accuracy. The central performances are perfect. All in all a stunning debut for Lynne Ramsay.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mr J Smart on 22 Dec 2004
Format: DVD
Most definitely poetic and cinematically captivating! It by far exceeds standards of British cinema and conveys a story with style. I did not witness the period of rats and rubbish in the 70's but I found myself still relating to the content. The film is extremely emotive! I give it 8/10.............6 is worth watching!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Oct 2011
Format: DVD
"Ratcatcher," the Scottish director Lynn Ramsey's 1999 debut film, comes trailing black clouds behind, described as a grim and disturbing coming of age picture. There's truth to that. It's set in a Glasgow slum, a down-at-heels council estate, that's way too close to a fetid, apparently no-longer-used canal: one of the children central to the plot calls it "creepy," and that'll certainly do as a description.

The film is a Franco-British co-production. It won eleven awards. It's slow-paced, but does show the existence of innocence in dreary, gritty poverty. Ramsey wrote, as well as directed it, and it does have a social-realist agenda. It centers, in a leisurely way, on one particular family, that of James, who appears to be teetering on the brink of adolescence, during the summer of the nationwide Scottish dustmen's strike of 1973. The streets are garbage-strewn, and black garbage bags pile up menacingly, attracting vermin. The plot, set among the city's white, native-born proletariat -- their Scottish accents are so strong that the American version comes with needed subtitles, isn't exactly cheerful, either. It's true tartan noir, but it does show that life goes on as it follows several of the project's children closely.

These children are neglected, bored, without recreational outlets, and are crueler to themselves, each other, and the animals in their world than some of us might wish: then again, they reflect their upbringings, don't they?

But there are some lighter moments, some of that bloody-minded humor that leavens Scottish life. You might consider it in the mold of "tartan noir," a peculiarly Scottish invention. Grim, more violent than usual; but there is that humour. Characters hope for better futures, and show each other the odd tenderness.
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