Glasgow, 1968: time for the Maclean brothers to decide where their loyalties and ambitions lie. The eldest, Bobby (Duffy), misses his dead dad, suffers nightmares, and hangs out with a local gang; Alan (McFadden) devotes his time to painting and Joanne (Fraser), an uncommonly self-assured lass, known to have attracted the jealous attentions of various neighborhood hardnuts; while Lex (Robertson), a feisty 13-year-old, is not only torn between the lifestyles of his brothers, but is facing pressure from the hoodlum tribes who engage in battle in and around the estates. Small wonder the boys' mother (Higgins) is often at her wits' end. It's hard to pin down exactly why Gilles MacKinnon's quasi-autobiographical rites-of-passage movie, co-written with his producer brother Billy, is so satisfying. As ever there's an unflashy visual intelligence at work, and again MacKinnon proves an expert director of actors. But what perhaps best distinguishes the film is its unsentimental honesty: everything - from the bloody rumbles between rival gangs to the mysteries of courtship, from anxieties over the precise intentions of a visiting uncle to Alan's anti-Americanism and Lex's first alcoholic binge - seems somehow absolutely right. A gem.
Cast and crew
Gillies MacKinnon, Bill MacKinnon