Despite the unemployment, petty crime and crack that afflict their Lancashire housing estate, Bob (Jones) and wife Anne (Brown) remain staunch Catholics. Bob does odd jobs to put food on the table, but also because he's determined to buy their daughter her communion dress, rather than accept a loan from the priest. He's soon in hock to loan-sharks. Though the subject of Loach's film is as dark as ever, the movie is funnier than Riff-Raff, thanks to another delicious performance from Ricky Tomlinson as Bob's pal Tommy. The gags range from deadpan Northern banter to slapstick and scatology, but they don't overshadow the political acuity of Jim Allen's script , or the narrative's inexorable progress into the stuff of everyday nightmare. This is no rant, but a warm, unsentimental tribute to the working-class spirit. Superbly acted, as always, and a hugely enjoyable example of the cinema of commitment.
Cast and crew
Tom Hickey Bruce Jones Ricky Tomlinson Gemma Phoenix Julie Brown