Film reviews

Young Adam, Dir: David Mackenzie - Cert: 18

There’s really only one word to describe this – bleak.

Not that it’s without merit, after all, Ewan McGregor delivers one of the strongest performances of his career to date and Tilda Swinton too is eminently convincing as the put upon housewife – or in this case ‘bargewife’ – Ella Gault.

The story revolves around the discovery of a young woman’s body found by Joe (McGregor) and the alcoholically challenged husband of Ella, Les (Peter Mullan) whilst going about their daily business in the murky depths of an Edinburgh canal.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Joe may in fact know more than he is letting on about the gruesome circumstances in which the deceased came to meet her maker.
This is a rather dark and broody film that features copious scenes of a carnal nature. That said, nobody could accuse the makers of being gratuitous here – these moments are as gritty and joyless as indeed the rest of the movie is.

Don’t get me wrong here – this is a well made, cleverly shot drama and McGregor portrays a truly despicable character intensely well. I think we could have done without the screen length full frontal shot though Ewan – put me right off my lunch that did.

Anyway, this is worth seeing for some sterling performances, but the whole thing is just so gloomy that it’s difficult to like it that much. Still, it does at least stick two fingers up at those contrived and frankly unbelievable Hollwyood endings that we have become so accustomed too, and for that, at least, it deserves some credit.

One final footnote here – if anyone has any idea why on earth this film was called “Young Adam”, please mail us at Atomicduster and let us know! None of the characters are called Adam, and neither is the barge. Baffled? I am. 6/10


Tone E


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