The Angels’ Share – A Whiskey Comedy

British director Ken Loach is a master of milieu studies. But in contrast to other whizzes of the field, for example Mike Leigh, Loach’s films aren’t dark and tragic, but rather funny and positive. His latest film The Angels’ Share premiered in Cannes and took home the Jury Prize! An honour the film certainly deserves…

Albert, Mo, Rhino and Robbie meet during their hours of community service. All four keep getting into trouble with the law, but don’t seem to mind having to spend their days with Harry, as they drift through their lives without perspectives anyway.

Harry is a fairytale social worker. A calm guy with a beer belly, who trusts the loosers and tries to get the best out of his pupils. The Misfits are easily enchanted by their new “dad” and seem to believe in a better life without petty crimes for the first time.

But to do so they need money in order to get a fresh start away from old friends, clichés and habits. Which brings them right back to the petty crime of stealing…

The discovery of the most exquisite barrel of whiskey comes in precisely the right moment for the crew. At a guided tour Robbie learns that a small part of the Whiskey evaporates during fermentation and storing. Experts call this lost part of the expensive distillation “the angels’ share”.  The four want to take advantage of this little share to break free from their dull lives. They follow through with their plan without second thoughts or regrets and even get away with it. Apparently angels do like to share with the needy!

Loach tells this tale in a captivating but unexcited manner. He weaves in the family ties and problems of protagonist Robbie almost negligibly but still shows a disillusioning world. The film quietly criticizes today’s casual way of dealing with social problems but stays entertaining and cheerful. One would certainly love to see more such slick comedies in the cinemas!

The Angels’ Share (D: Ken Loach, UK 2012)

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