Loach lightens up for this documentary-style comedy about the scams, laughs, dangers and camaraderie of work on a London building site. Newcomer Carlyle plays Stevie, a Scottish ex-con teenager who gets a job tearing the guts out of a closed-down hospital. His workmates are a mixed bunch: Irishmen, West Indians and Scousers with a healthy disrespect for their idle ganger, a talent for ducking and diving, and a keen eye for the main chance. The company's cavalier disrespect for basic safety standards eventually brings tensions on the site to a head. Bill Jesse's pointedly funny script skilfully evokes the texture of working life; Loach's handling of Stevie's tentative romance with would-be singer Susan (McCourt), on the other hand, wavers between the touchingly simple and curiously off-key. There are times, too, when the lively spontaneity of the improvised scenes slips into inaudible chaos. Sadly, Bill Jesse died without seeing the finished film, but this is as good an epitaph as he could have hoped for.
Cast and crew