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"Lyrical and contemplative soul-search...",
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This review is from: Ratcatcher [DVD]  (DVD)
Scottish screenwriter and director Lynne Ramsay's feature film debut which she wrote, was shot in Glasgow, Scotland and is a UK-France co-production. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 52nd Cannes Film Festival in 1999, in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 24th Toronto International Film Festival in 1999 and was produced by Gavin Emerson. It tells the story about twelve-year-old James who lives with his father, mother and two sisters in a poor neighbourhood in Glasgow 1973 where the working class is influenced by a garbage streak that over-floods the streets with trash, rats and misfortune. One day when he is out playing with his friend Ryan down by a lake, the playing gets out of hand and Ryan drowns. In a state of shock James vanishes from the scene of the crime and removes all suspicion away from himself. This tragic event causes James' parents great concern, and while James is at a loss as to whether or not he is going to tell someone what really happened, feelings of guilt begins to absorb him and gradually he slips into a lonely and introvert state that threatens to overshadow his perception of reality.
Finely and acutely directed by Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, this quiet and heartrending drama which is narrated from the protagonist`s point of view, draws an unsentimental and realistic portrayal of a working-class society struck by inflation in Glasgow during the early 1970s. While notable for its gritty and naturalistic milieu depictions, stellar production design by production designer Jane Morton, cinematography by German-born cinematographer Alwin H. Kuchler and Lynne Ramsay's distinct form of expression and individualistic style, this finely tuned study of character which was given English subtitles in England due to the characters particular Scottish dialect, depicts a shining coming-of-age fable about the loss of innocence and contains a fine score by British composer Rachel Portman.
In this compassionately narrated story about adjusting in a world that's easy to be deflected by, but impossible to write off, Lynne Ramsay conceives a nostalgic atmosphere. Somewhere within the sad melancholy that influences the characters, the director is able to captivate lovely images of nature which creates efficient and natural contrasts and her humane insight and directorial talent is evident when she with modest precision goes into the core of a 12-year-old boy's inner states. This remarkable independent film is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, débutant William Eadie`s profound acting performance in the role as the rare character James and the fine supporting acting performances. A lyrical and contemplative soul-search which gained, among other awards, the Sutherland Trophy Lynne Ramsay at the British Film Institute Awards in 1999, the Douglas Hickox Award Lynne Ramsay at the 2nd British Independent Film Awards in 1999 and the Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer Lynne Ramsay at the 53rd BAFTA Awards in 2000.