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The directorial debut from renowned Scottish actor Peter Mullan (The Magdalene Sisters, Neds), Orphans tells the story of four siblings, who gather for their mother's funeral in Glasgow and face individual torments over a single night. This grittily realistic and deeply moving black comedy/drama brings together the finest of Scottish talent and wowed audiences all over the world on its original release.
This Blu-ray release features a brand new HD restoration of the film, together with a selection of early Peter Mullan short films: Fridge (1995), Close (1993) and Good Day for the Bad Guys (1995).
- Photo Gallery
- First reels Interview: Peter Mullan on Close
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It never disappoints and I can watch it again and again.
Peter Mullan, winner of Best Actor at Cannes (My Name Is Joe) and the Golden Lion at Venice for directing the Magdalene Sisters, is the writer-director of Orphans, his feature film debut, starring Gary Lewis III (My Name Is Joe, Gangs of New York, Billy Elliot), Douglas Henshall (This Year's Love), Steven McCole, (Acid House) Rosemary Stevenson and Frank Gallacher.
Top actors, perfect in this ensemble, brilliant storyline and direction, if you get this you will not regret it.
Not as well known as Trainspotting owing to Film 4 failing disastrously to distribute this sterling movie, and incidently also burning 40min worth of outtakes - literally burning it and to date failing to explain why.
If it had been properly distributed, far more people would sing it's praises - topnotch.
Mixing raw emotional drama, worthy of any work by Lars von Trier and the Catholic-induced fantasies that Neil Jordan fused so well into the grime and poverty of modern society this is one hell of a bumpy, but rewarding cinematic ride. In Jordan's case, Ireland, in this, Scottish director Peter Mullan is mid 90's Glasgow.
There's a gutter encrusted language that refuses to shock as it seems so much a part of the angst and misunderstanding of a modern society losing its religion but that same religion has never been more needed. In the same way of Mullan's 'My Name Is Joe', (in which he takes lead part) life is sheer hell at times and grasping onto what you know and rely on is paramount. Whether that faith be in alcohol, drugs, the church or family. Or all four.
So, the mother of the family dies and everybody is highly overwrought. Scotland's finest actors, often only seen in more lame films (Douglas Henshall, for instance is outstanding in this) or the current gritty Scots TV D.I 'Taggart', who ends up not in quite as much control as he's used to. Stalwart actor Gary Lewis (Full Monty, Brassed Off) is the lay priest and brother who tries to keep his family united as well as his church and when a storm hits...
On this, my third viewing, those scenes are worthy of anything - and more - that Hollywood can do. Truly making me goose-bumped and, frankly, perspiring as the score, the focused direction plus performances as good as anything you'll see ably pumps up the melodrama. A revenge plot for a stabbing that leaves Henshall running for cover, injured, blood- soaked and delirious leads him screaming for Sanctuary at his estranged brother's church. Will the Will of God allow personal bitterness to be overcome?
Unusually, another lead - and thankfully, without mawkishness, is a sister to the brothers and who is severely disabled with cerebral palsy and in an electrically powered chair. The sort of plucky girl who thanks people for calling her a 'spastic'. Totally un-PC, but she's grateful for their full frontal honesty. Don't expect a shrinking violet...
'Orphans' might well not be as topical as Mullan's most well known film 'The Magdalene Sisters' and hasn't got the fantastic fantasy and hip- soundtrack of Boyle's Trainspotting. But, for my money, in its own ways it sits up there with the two as some of the very finest Scottish set, or originated, films, ever.
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