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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mature with a Pleasing After-Taste
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...
Published on 5 Jun 2012 by Swellms

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie but totally wrong description
Good movie and definitely worth a watch but this is not a comedy or the Scottish Full Monty. It is like the person who wrote the description hasn't even watched the movie.
Published 10 months ago by Mr Darren M Horsman


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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mature with a Pleasing After-Taste, 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. It doesn't quite make five star perfection - there are times when credibility is stretched, and the combination of the two styles undermines its coherence - but doesn't miss by much, and is well worth seeing, especially if you enjoy off-beat British comedies or just fancy a break from Hollywood blockbusters.

Finally, special mention for two of the secondary female characters. The guide at the whisky distillery is a delight - with swinging hips and the straining buttons on her blouse she creates a sexual presence which many other films would have to display yards of flesh to achieve. And Siobahn Reilly, as Robbie's girlfriend Leonie, has expressions and a manner of speech strongly redolent of the delectable Clare Grogan in that most wonderful of Scottish comedies - indeed that most wonderful of films - Gregory's Girl. I would have no problem putting this new Ken Loach film in that company.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars kindly, funny, quirky - but with a slice of hard realism too, 3 Jun 2012
By 
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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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. The earlier part of it includes stark scenes - he is attacked and badly beaten in a hospital, he is chased through the streets by his traditional enemies who would do him real damage but for the intervention of his partner's father, and in a very effective scene he has a meeting with the young man whom he himself assaulted in the incident which led to his imprisonment, and with his parents and girl friend (or possibly sister) ; the mother goes for him and all he can do is weep - he is now a father himself and can begin to understand how she feels. Once the four leave Glasgow and make their way north, however, the 'feel' of the film changes with the scenery, and it becomes much less hard-edged. This part of the film is very enjoyable - funny in places, and with a compelling plot - but there has to be some suspension of disbelief ; several times I found myself thinking, 'Could that really happen?'. In this film, it does, and you are glad for the lad, his girl and his friends. So I don't think it can be classed as a great film, but it is involving, engagingly unusual, and extremely well made and acted. It is certainly 'different' and well worth seeing.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare gem, 6 Aug 2012
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This film was a surprise. I did not expect to be so moved to both tears and laughter-often at the same time. It showed a realism about the difficulties some young people face and can create for themselves and others and the humour with which they face life-limiting situations but, instead of wallowing in this, it provided hope of something better-through the support of a kindly father-figure, the love of partner and child and the discovery of an unforeseen talent. It made me think how many lives could be made meaningful by investing the millions some people do in a bit of flavoured water- "whisky"-into the lives of young people so that they can escape from poverty and brutality. Everyone who finds their special gift and has help to nurture it can make so much more of their lives. The Carntyne Whisky Appreciation Society did this and made me laugh. I think this is probably the best film I've ever seen-a great film about the need for young people to be given all the chances they need until they make something of themselves- as a result, I've decided to sponsor a room at Centre Point with the hope that it will help make a difference for someone. See this film- see behind the language, the thuggishness and criminality to the humanity and the possibility inherent even in the most damaged young people of the system. A great laugh while it makes you think and weep.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful film, 22 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Angels' Share (Theatrical Version) [DVD] (DVD)
Being brought up in the East end of Glasgow, where a lot of this film is set and filmed. I wouldn't say I can relate personally to the characters but I can see that the storyline could well be based on true events. Its a wonderful story with a nice ending. Love it and cant wait to buy it, I saw it on a flight to America and I watched it twice. So funny in parts too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie but totally wrong description, 10 Oct 2013
Good movie and definitely worth a watch but this is not a comedy or the Scottish Full Monty. It is like the person who wrote the description hasn't even watched the movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whiskey in the jar: A film of two halves as one of Britain's finest directors moulds his own crime caper set in Scotland., 31 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Angels' Share (Theatrical Version) [DVD] (DVD)
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. If not for him, then for the child that is on its way. In a bitter twist, his pregnant girlfriend is the daughter of a rival family who do not look upon his presence kindly.

Under the tutelage of community service officer, Harry (a reliably solid John Henshaw), Robbie is not only able to fulfill his civic obligation, but he is also able to strike upon a previously unforeseen nasal talent, which offers a potential 'out' through the whiskey trade. To say anything else would be a spoiler. Suffice to say, somewhere along the line a plan is hatched.

Where the first half of this film offers a sombre, grimy look at Glasgow and the push and pull of family ties and tensions, the second half takes a far lighter tone. The first half is the more effective and compelling. In one scene, a meeting is set up where Robbie is confronted with the victim of his crime. Interspersed with flashbacks to the horrific violence that formed the basis of Robbie's conviction in time past, the effect is shocking. Loach has stated that he didn't want the flashbacks to be put in slow motion. He felt that this would diminish the brutality. He wanted to showcase the violence in real time. He wanted it to be visceral. He has succeeded. In fact, at first, the film struggles to recover from the power of this scene. The pace of the script counters this by flushing the narrative forward. It excels in doing so. There is a contagious bonhomie with all of the main characters, and the script has enough brio and warmth to engage the viewer. A minor quibble would be that the well performed Albert (Gary Maitland) suspends belief a little too far as a personality type, cast as he is in the idiot savant role. Still, there is certainly enough here for both emotional investment and a good few chuckles along the way.

The only section that could be accused of dragging is the main set-piece involving the heist. This is perhaps an unfair criticism, however, as the film has to unavoidably subscribe to genre conventions at this point. The screenplay does its job well in enabling the film to zip by without too much damage being done.

As a non-professional actor plucked from obscurity, Paul Brannigan's performance is outstanding, and he certainly stands to gain the most from this film's success. He is a natural, bringing both a strength and a vulnerability to Robbie.

In some quarters, this film has been referred to as being a Scottish Full Monty. This does not necessarily do either film any real service. It is true that both are heartwarming and feature the working class. This is not enough to lump them in as the equivalent of each other though.

As an intoxicating pick-me-up, the Angel's Share succeeds. Ken Loach has stepped further out into the light with this film, creating what is surely his most family friendly film (minus the swearing and violence of course, but you were never going to get a Mrs Doubtfire from him, were you?). Is this film perfect? No. However, just like the characters in the Angel's Share deserve a fair chance, so does this picture.

for more film reviews: toomuchnoiseblog.com and [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A must-see for whisky drinkers, 31 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. C. W. V. Mccleery (Stroud, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angels' Share (Theatrical Version) [DVD] (DVD)
Fortunately we didn't quite need subtitles for this movie, but we can understand that some viewers might! My wife and I enjoyed the story and were happily reminded of our many visits to Scottish distilleries over the years. An amusing dig at collectors (not only of whisky) with more money than sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We enjoyed this, 20 Mar 2014
We were looking for something to make us smile and this did the trick. Easy to watch. We had great fun trying to understand some of the heavier Glaswegian accents and on occasion, only understood one word in ten, but it's good training for lazy ears!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whisky Galore it is not., 11 Aug 2013
By 
Iosaiph (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angels' Share (Theatrical Version) [DVD] (DVD)
I want to be a Ken Loach fan, I really do, because I admire what he does, why he does it and the commitment and authenticity he brings to movie making but, for me at least, this is not the film to seal the deal. The plot is contrived and uneven.Tthe characters are at one and the same time original, their language authentic but their relationships and progression the stuff of whimsy. The humour is heavy handed and jarring. The whimsical blurs uneasily with the gritty nihilism and aggression that forms the backdrop to their lives. I was depressed by this movie rather than uplifted or edified by it. Not his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Film, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: The Angels' Share (Theatrical Version) [DVD] (DVD)
This film was nothing to shout about, It was ok but I should have saved the money and just waited for it to come on television sometime. It did arrive in good order, well packaged.
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