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The Angels' Share 2012

Amazon Video

(291) IMDb 7/10

Narrowly avoiding jail, new dad Robbie vows to turn over a new leaf. A visit to a whisky distillery inspires him and his mates to seek a way out of their hopeless lives.

Roger Allam,Daniel Portman
1 hour, 36 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Ken Loach
Starring Roger Allam, Daniel Portman
Supporting actors John Henshaw, William Ruane
Studio Entertainment One
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Swellms on 5 Jun. 2012
This highly enjoyable film attempts something quite difficult in combining gritty drama about mindless urban violence with feel-good, rural comedy. It succeeds in this, with the comedy coming to the fore in the second half of the film.

The Angel's Share tells the story of Robbie, a vicious Glaswegian thug, given one last chance by the system in the hope that his fathering of a child by a very sensible girlfriend will enable him to turn his life around. The hand of mercy is extended further by Harry (John Henshaw), who supervises Robbie's Community Pay-Back, offers him shelter, and introduces him to the rarefied world of single-malt whisky. Despite this, Robbie appears to be heading back into his world of hopelessness and violence, until a unique and extremely valuable barrel of single-malt, and his own sharp mind, present the opportunity for final escape.

At this point the film faces a conundrum. We are asked to sympathise with the well-intentioned attempts of a wayward but intelligent youth to escape from a life of crime, but he tries to do this through a heist. That the film succeeds in winning our sympathies was made very clear by the collective and audible gasp of anguish from all the people in the cinema at the point when Robbie and his friends suffer a massive set-back in their plans.

There is a lot to love about this film. Great characters and acting; some very poignant scenes (brace yourself for a harrowing episode in which Robbie meets one of his previous victims as part of a reconciliation scheme); some laugh-out-loud moments; a well-paced and clever plot; and some beautiful shots of Scotland's fabulous countryside.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jun. 2012
This film, which was a surprise winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, begins as a hard-edged and extremely realistic account of the fortunes of three young men and a girl, all offenders, who appear in court for a variety of minor crimes. One, however, has been in prison for a serious and brutal assault, and he is the central character in the film. Memorably played by Paul Brannigan, whose own life apparently has parallels with that of the character, he just escapes prison again, partly because he now has a stable relationship with a good woman, Leonie, and is about become a father ; he is ready to put his old life behind him if he can. But he has enemies, and they are out to get him, and the offer from Leonie's father of 5000 if he will leave and never reappear in Glasgow is one that, at one point, he gloomily sees as the only option. All four come under the wing of a kindly Community Service Supervision Officer, Harry, excellently played by John Henshaw, with whom they paint derelict halls and clean gravestones. But then, on his day off, he takes them to a distillery, where Robbie finds he has a 'nose' - a natural talent for judging and identifying fine whiskies. The plot moves on, with a second visit to what is probably the Malt Whisky Society and the news that a cask of 'malt mill', an exceedingly rare, distinguished and expensive whisky, is to be auctioned up north. The four young people form a plan and, donning kilts, make their way north, where various things happen ; and the end of the film is hopeful and distinctly 'feel-good'.

This film moves, as does Robbie, from the hard reality of a brutal and bleak, violent, drug-ridden council-estate life to escape and real hope for him, his partner and their child, Luke.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Is Ken Loach Britain's very own Woody Allen? On the surface, the answer would most likely be no. Stylistically very different. Closer inspection, however, show greater parallels than one might initially imagine. Both are extremely prolific, well within their twilight years, both have to venture into Europe to secure their funding and both are completely and utterly adored by the French.

For Loach, forever on the periphery of popular culture (aside from Kes (1969), of course), things have never really been otherwise. In many ways, his films have provided a critical and unflinching picture of Britain throughout the last 40 years. Standing on the sidelines shining a light on the underdog and highlighting the gaps within the British class system, he has done so not with a crass voyeurism in the manner of a sneering class tourist, but with a sincere brushstroke of honesty. For all the destitution and violence, he has detailed the strong bonds that often exist within the deprived communities.

The Angel's Share marks the 12th film that he has directed with the accompaniment of writer, Peter Laverty; a fruitful partnership that started back with Carla's Song (1996). Sharing more in common with the lighthearted and breezy (for Loach) Looking for Eric (2009) than the subsequent Route Irish (2010), there is room for plenty of laughs with this particular band of merry brothers (and sister).

Opening with the sentencing of a number of delinquents to community service, the focus falls on young Robbie (Paul Brannigan), a ne'er do well who represents the latest in a long line of rogues born from his family's gene pool. With history seemingly set to repeat itself, and feuds with neighbouring families falling from one generation to the next, Robbie needs to break the cycle.
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