If The Angels' Share had been directed by Joe Nobody it wouldn't have received half the press and wouldn't have gotten near Cannes. But Ken Loach is a name director, which can trick one into thinking what's a very average piece of work to be something more. A similar situation arose in 2005 with Cronenberg and the very ordinary action thriller A History Of Violence: 'Tis Cronenberg so 'tis good! No, t'isn't! A History of Violence is an average movie, as is The Angels' Share.
fter another street fight, Glaswegian Robbie (Brannigan) narrowly avoids jail and, because his girlfriend is expecting a baby, is determined that this will be the last time he stands before a judge. Sentenced to community service, he meets the kindly Harry (Henshaw), who sees the good in Robbie and introduces him to the delights of whisky. Robbie has a nose for it and Harry takes him tasting sessions in Edinburgh where the kid hatches a plan to lighten a local distillery of its rare and expensive produce…
he title lends itself to the 2% loss of volume during whisky's maturation process, but - and forgive the obvious dig - Loach lost more than that during the writing process. The director has dabbled in frothy fun before with the likes of Looking For Eric but that was given some grounding, concerning itself with the delusions of a depressed man. No such weight is found here - this is conventional stuff from the director of tough social realism like My Name Is Joe.
part from the seen-it-before plotting, the main problem with The Angels' Share is Robbie. Robbie's a scumbag and there's no escaping that. He's not even an interesting scumbag. Loach and Laverty presents us with both sides of the Robbie argument, offering up the Bad Robbie - during a powerful scene where Robbie is confronted by a victim of one of his coke-addled violent outbursts, which destroyed the victim's life – and then the Good Robbie – he cries at said meeting. Later this Good Robbie goes about stealing (the heist that takes up the second half of the movie) but that's okay, the movie says, he's stealing from rich people. But Robbie is no Robin Hood and no matter how hard Loach and Laverty work and no matter how often the unknown Brannigan, who does a decent job in the lead role, smiles he's still a scumbag.
on't be blinded by the name - Loach is a great director but this is ordinary and forgettable fluff.