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Orphans [VHS] [1999]

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Douglas Henshall, Gary Lewis, Rosemarie Stevenson, Stephen McCole, Ann Swan
  • Directors: Peter Mullan
  • Writers: Peter Mullan
  • Producers: Frances Higson, Paddy Higson
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Fox
  • VHS Release Date: 1 April 2000
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZE6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,787 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Peter Mullan wrote and directed this Glasgow based, black-comedy. On the eve of their mother's funeral, three sons and a daughter gather in a pub. The eldest, Thomas (Gary Lewis), is singing a tribute to her when local youth Duncan (Malcolm Shields) starts laughing. Thomas' brother Michael (Douglas Henshall) attacks the boy and is stabbed in the subsequent melée. Vowing revenge, John (Stephen McCole), the third brother, goes in search of a gun. The events set in motion by the stabbing escalate as the family tries to cope with their anger and impotence in the face of death.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 4 Feb. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
From the opening shot of the sons and daughter gathered around their mothers coffin I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. I think Peter Mullan is a genius for making a movie which is both incredibly funny and extremely touching in a completly unsentimental way. The events of the story will constantly catch you off guard which you can't say for most Hollywood films. A real treat and one to own.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What to say about this movie that the other reviewers have not already said? Put simply this is a film I and several of my friends and family have seen several times and just never tire of it. It starts off with the family, three sons and a disabled daughter gathered round the coffin of their recently departed Mother making you unsure of which direction the film was leading and what exactly your reaction was to be to the events which unfold over one chaotic Autumn night in Glasgow before a funeral the following morning. You will not be disappointed no matter what you are expecting, it's all here, laughter, tears, love, hate all the things that make life worthwhile. This film deserves to be lauded and it astounds me to this day that most people I speak to have never heard of it, a real pity as it truly ranks among the best movies that I have ever seen. Forget buying yourself a relative or friend the latest Hollywood Blockbuster that you'll watch once or twice and forget in the blink of an eye, this film will stay with you forever you will watch it again and again and get more and more from it with each viewing; the sign of a true Masterpiece
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love this film - I give it to anyone who's never heard of it (pretty much everyone) and invariably they love it too - there is so much to enjoy about this film - it truly has everything; laughter and tears and awesome performances.

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.
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Format: DVD
The sombre image of a family mourning the death of a mother, round a coffin in the front room edges you uncomfortably on your seat even before the film really begins.
The box decribes it as a Black Comedy, but that just happens to be a neat genre in which to file it. Some moments at the beggining are very funny, in a 'I really shouldn't be laughing at this' sort of way, but towards the end, the film just turns plain old black. It is all based around a single night, and as the events unfold, so does the directing, as the characters become more and more desperate, so does the graphic style, resulting in some truly moving snapshots of the night.
The one word title of the film represents the irony that these four children are all family (altough they are all totally different and don't even get on), and the word should tell us a little about all of them. Needless to say it doesn't and the depth of divergent character building left me asking whether the director intended to make such a subtle observation on the defragmentation of family life. Since reflecting on the film for a couple of days, I think he probably did.
It's not northern grit, or trainspotting.
It is catastrophic, inspirational art and it left me speechless and shaking for 20 minutes after the end of the film. Buy.........
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Format: DVD
To me, this is one of those films, whose scenes linger, almost haunt long after the vague and slightly off-putting title is long forgotten.

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.
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