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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing film,please watch it !
I am astonished I'm the first person to post a review on this masterpiece ! I'm french an in my country, Ken Loach is admired as the great film maker he truly is. And in my point of view, this film is perhaps his best, because even if you disagree with his political view, you will be deeply moved by the principal character. Great plot, great actors, it is human, complex,...
Published on 31 Jan 2008 by Laetitia Roy

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They don't come harder hitting than this
The plot of 'Sweet Sixteen' is pure Loach; a no-holds-barred account of the hardships faced by protagonist Liam as he tries to get by in Greenock, Scotland while his Mum is in jail and her boyfriend shows nothing but disdain for him. As usual, Loach portrays the situation with his trademark candour and succeeds in uniting the audience behind Liam despite the ever...
Published on 7 April 2003 by james_wiltshire


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing film,please watch it !, 31 Jan 2008
By 
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] (DVD)
I am astonished I'm the first person to post a review on this masterpiece ! I'm french an in my country, Ken Loach is admired as the great film maker he truly is. And in my point of view, this film is perhaps his best, because even if you disagree with his political view, you will be deeply moved by the principal character. Great plot, great actors, it is human, complex, beautiful and captivating. Please watch it. Vive Ken Loach.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark and moving film, 17 April 2006
By 
David Welsh (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A dark and harrowing film which follows an optimistic teenager in the drug-infested culture of the housing estates in Greenock in the West of Scotland. Liam wants to make a better life for himself, and his mother when she is released from prison, but to do that he needs money... His ambition and naivety quickly lead him out of his depth, but his vision that things really could be better means that he can't back away. Powerful stuff, and definitely worth watching - especially for the outstanding début performance by Martin Compston as Liam.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty Greenock drama, 30 Dec 2008
By 
LXIX (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] (DVD)
Sweet Sixteen puts the West of Scotland ned firmly onto the big screen. The film follows the trials and travails of 'Liam' (Martin Compston) as he descends from a directionless youth into a seasoned drug dealer. His motives are naively sweet - to create a better life for his dysfunctional family members, especially his mother who is soon to be released from HMP Cornton Vale.

Although hard-hitting and coarse throughout (don't watch this if you're easily offended by those elements of the English language that don't usually feature in dictionaries), Sweet Sixteen also contains much black humour and is a riveting 106 minutes.

Watching this fictional tale, you can't help feeling that, unfortunately, this movie is probably close in some respects to the day-to-day reality for some urban youth in Scotland, and that's what makes it a more profound film (where 'success' at turn of the century Scotland is defined as a part time job in a call centre, or a life of crime).

The DVD also contains 6 outakes that didn't make the final cut. One of them, when Stan's jacket is ruined with a pair of scissors, is actually a classic scene and really should have been in there.

Another 'extra' is a full 30 minute BBC Scotland documentary that followed up on the success of the movie.

Overall, a great performance by Martin Compston (who went on to appear in films such as Red Road) and a genuinely amusing urban tale.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loach-tastic. Brilliant., 20 Aug 2006
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Despite its title, "Sweet Sixteen" is one decidedly sour film. This movie isn't based on an Irvine Welsh novel, but with its gritty examination of tough Scottish street life, it might as well be. The movie centers around a fatherless high-school dropout who expects his family to become whole again when his mother finally gets out of prison. In the role of the teenaged protagonist Liam, Martin Compston turns in a brilliant performance that belies his youth. In the opening scene, we see what kind of situation Liam is dealing with: going to visit his mother in prison, her slimy father and her even slimier boyfriend Stan want Liam to pass her drugs to hook up her fellow inmates so that Stan can make a killing off their boyfriends. And when Liam refuses to do it, he winds up getting the hell beaten out of him by the side of the road. This is obviously a kid who's had the odds stacked against him from the beginning.

Through Liam's story, "Sweet Sixteen" makes the rather depressing point that street life can claim even the best-intentioned among us. What makes the movie work is the ambiguity that Compston brings to his character, aided by a first-class script and some very dreary cinematography. Liam is neither a hero nor a villain; he's just a kid doing his best to live a normal life amid highly unenviable circumstances. And he'll do anything to achieve that normal life, even if it means selling heroin to afford a trailer for himself and his family. Of course, it should be obvious to most that drug-dealing is not the best path to normalcy and stability, but Liam's misguided nature is the very quality that makes him such a tragic and sympathetic figure.

Although it does have its moments of humor, "Sweet Sixteen" is mostly a down note right until the bitter end. There's a sense of foreboding througout the film, as you can just tell that Liam is going to screw up in a big way. Still, if you're not averse to a little depression, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. I didn't always like what I was seeing, but I was glued to the screen just the same.

Excellent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loah on form, 5 Feb 2006
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Good to see Ken Loach back on form.Sweet Sixteen comes across as if it was documentary....a Loach hallmark.It is nonetheless a carefully crafted tragedy with its inevitable relentless progress to the tagic climax of a wasted life.
The film pulls few punches either with the authenticity of the dialect or the sheer despair of the lives it portrays.It is again a la roach a very political film....a seering indictment of the aftermath of the Thatcher years.It is hard to recomend this film as enjoyable entertainment but there is no doubt thaT IT IS AN IMPORTANT AND WONDERFULLY EXECUTED WORK.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A depressing story that needs to be told, 21 Feb 2005
By 
Barry Lees (Greenock, Strathclyde Scotland) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
First things first (and this may be important): "Sweet Sixteen" is NOT set in a "Glaswegian suburb" of ANY description. Greenock and Gourock are referred to several times throughout the film. It is set, and filmed, mostly in Greenock - a town at the mouth of the Clyde, 20 miles west of Glasgow. One of the main ironies that I think the film tries to address is that, until about 25 years ago, Greenock had fairly low unemployment. : youths like Liam entered the shipyards or engineering workshops (the town's main employers) after leaving school. Until the Thatcher government arrived on the scene, that is. The Tory economic policy of the time was to use high unemployment as a weapon against the working class to keep costs down, whilst all the time talking about "encouraging entrepreneurial activity". All of the Greenock shipyards closed in the 80s and heroin became the new big business in the run-down towns of west central Scotland.

The "entrepreneurs" in "Sweet Sixteen" are the drugs dealers and they make it quite clear that they wouldn't be so idiotic as to use the stuff themselves. Liam and Pinball think that they can become 'entrepreneurs', just like the local drugs suppliers, but they are only "streetwise", too young and without any sense of the real brutality which the opposition will use without a pang of remorse.

Even though I live in Greenock, it opened my eyes to the 'underclass' that obviously permeates our society. A depressing story, but one that had to be told.

[Based on a viewing of the film on tv, I will certainly buy the dvd. When the film was broadcast, it was slated for the intrusive subtitles which, after all, are not provided for the likes of "Coronation Street". I just hope that subtitles are an OPTION on the dvd].
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loach's youth movie, 13 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
In contrast to most other Loach movies I have seen, Sweet Sixteen (as the title very well suggests) deals with youth. Even though it is social critique at its best and thus does not portray the brightest sides of life, its dark tone is sometimes made actually much worse by the fact that it has a 15-year old in the focus. Sometimes Liams youthfulness and optimism (yes, in my opinion, he does not lose faith in better future at least until the end titles) makes you forget that everything that looks/seems bright is disturbingly crime-connected.
Unlike most of the drug-related movies, it concentrates on the non-user smalldealer, and the seeming unavailability of options between lawful and unlawful 'career'.
Overall, I think the movie is one of Loach's best. It still has the documentaristic touch, but the strong and moving story plus the Scottish setting make it somewhat more 'artistic'. I think the English subtitles to Scottish accent on DVD are really useful. Actually, during the starting minutes I even thought that they were not speaking English at all, but that can also be partially due to the fact that I'm no native speaker either.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Sixteen, 18 Mar 2005
The title of this film is deceptive. The words 'sweet sixteen' conjure up images of America, birthdays, innocence- this film is about as far removed from all that as you can go.
Sweet Sixteen is set in Glasgow, and centres around 15 year old Liam (Martin Compston) whose mother is in prison serving time for her abusive, drug dealer boyfriend, Stan. Liam attempts to find a safe haven for them both, away from Stan, but must first try and raise the cash. He enlists the help of his friends and finds himself part of a new and dangerous world. He quickly becomes out of his depth, but he just can't let it go.
Ken Loach has created a gritty and powerful drama about the loss of innocence and the lengths that Liam will go to to help his family.
I would highly recommend this film- the characters speak in thick Glaswegian accents, but there are subtitles throughout the entire film. There is also quite a lot of strong language, but don't let that put you off.
Sweet Sixteen is an excellent film that won't fail to move you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real success !, 3 May 2003
By 
robert kelly (Northampton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This movie is extremely realistic. Being brought up in Glasgow myself let me assure you that what you see and hear is very authentic. I almost felt as if I had been transported back twenty years to my teenage days.At times it felt like I was looking at real family and group of friends going about their ordinary lifes.
A fantastic movie, where everyone involved in the project excels. Some of the interaction between the characters is extremely funny and then at times very moving.
Give it a chance, watch it you will not be disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They don't come harder hitting than this, 7 April 2003
This review is from: Sweet Sixteen [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The plot of 'Sweet Sixteen' is pure Loach; a no-holds-barred account of the hardships faced by protagonist Liam as he tries to get by in Greenock, Scotland while his Mum is in jail and her boyfriend shows nothing but disdain for him. As usual, Loach portrays the situation with his trademark candour and succeeds in uniting the audience behind Liam despite the ever deepening web of crime he himself gets trapped in as a result his desire to build a better life for his Mum when she comes out of jail.
This is a stark account of a dog-eat-dog world of betrayal in which innocence is the first victim. The message of the film is plain for all to see and no attempt is made to temper the incredible power that it contains. Unlike many of his films there is none of the pitch-black humour that Loach uses to break the tension. This is in no way a film for the faint hearted and anyone expecting a sugar-sweet ending should stay well away. Those who do buy the film will be gripped and taken with Loach and Liam on a white knuckle emotional roller-coaster ride all the way to the wonderfully intricate finale.
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Sweet Sixteen [DVD]
Sweet Sixteen [DVD] by Ken Loach (DVD - 2007)
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