Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
A depressing story that needs to be told
on 21 February 2005
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].