Quantcast
become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Ratcatcher (review)

Life is horrible, and there’s no escape except the ultimate one — that about sums up writer/director Lynne Ramsay’s feature debut, Ratcatcher. A young boy drowns in the cruddy, sickly canal that wends its way through rundown council flats in mid 1970s Glasgow; 12-year-old James (William Eadie) secretly witnessed it, and now he’s haunted by the tragedy. Da (Tommy Flanagan: Gladiator) is an unemployed drinker, and Ma (Mandy Matthews) is busy trying to ensure the survival of her family, which leaves James to fend for himself. A lazy, stream-of-consciousness exploration of James’s unpleasant world and the fantasies that offer momentary diversion, this is often a stunningly, grimly beautiful film, but one that leaves a bitter aftertaste. It’s hard to feel too sympathetic for parents who leave their kids to play in the mounds of refuse piled up during a garbage strike, or playing with the bodies rats they beat to death — and it’s hard not to picture James as one of those rats, scurrying through life, trying to keep his head down, and not succeeding. This is a world that turns people hard and cruel even as children, and though James manages to retain his gentleness, it’s that sensitivity that dooms him. Ratcatcher‘s tragic irony is that a cold outer shell is a necessity in a world like James’s — without it, life is unendurable. Bummer, huh?


When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!


MPAA: not rated

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

IMDb
posted in:
reviews
explore:

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap