23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Ken Loach Delivers Another Slice Of Rawness.,
This review is from: My Name is Joe [DVD]  (DVD)
"My Name Is Joe" is a typically gritty, unflinching Ken Loach movie from 1998. It stars the excellent Peter Mullan, who gives an amiable performance as recovering alcoholic JOE.
This Glasgow-set story concerns Joe's blossoming relationship with a good-natured social worker named Sarah. The initial harmony of this relationship is soon put under pressure due to Joe's feelings of responsibility for his friend Liam. Liam, you see, has a history of heroin abuse and as a consequence a gang of drug dealing thugs are constantly darkening his door. When Joe learns that Liam is in debt (to the tune of thousands of pounds), his benevolent nature comes to the fore and Joe feels that he has no option but to help his friend. As a result, his relationship with Sarah is threatened and Joe ultimately feels the lure of booze returning to throttle him. The film's climax does not make for easy viewing...
"My Name Is Joe" is one of Ken Loach's most revered movies, and it's easy to see why. Loach is a director who always strives for realism, and it must be said that movies don't come much more "warts 'n' all" than this one. In fact, this movie is frequently so realistic it's actually painful to watch. There is a twitchy heroin-shooting scene that could accurately be described as stomach-churning. There is also a graphic suicide scene which is, frankly, almost UNBEARABLE to watch. Is this movie light-hearted fun for all the family? Erm...no.
That said, there are still moments of humour in this movie to cut through the darkness (mainly involving Joe's hapless football team of delinquents). Be warned, however, that this is far from being a comedy and could leave many viewers feeling emotionally drained. Is it a film to fall in love with? NO. Is it a film to be admired? MOST DEFINITELY. The lack of mindless escapism here is definitely to be applauded.
In conclusion:- If you are after a little bit of light Saturday night entertainment, AVOID this film. If, however, you are seeking a thought-provoking story that is humanistic and features believable characters, then prepare to be rewarded.