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First comment: if you spent the first 20 years of your life outside Glasgow, see this with subtitles…

Second comment: Lynne Ramsey (who I adore for her recent “We need to talk about Kevin” adaptation) is a somehow fearless social observer. Fearless in not caring about whether there is a traditional  “story” or “plot” to be found in her script, but willing to go at great pains (sometimes literally) to put human beings into real-life situations and allow us to observe what kind of life exists on this planet. Sounds like a David Attenborough documentary? Could be actually, if the filming would be more flashy. The world she shows in Ratcatcher is wildlife, human style. Decrepit suburbs, dysfunctional families, economic misery… but guess what, the story she tells is not depressing. It is the story of, say, a boy who lives in the midst of this, and as kids are (or maybe all people are like that), he takes the given as given, exploring it and being curious about the inner workings of the society he grows up in. He plays and learns, about life and girls, he is angry, sad and happy, as kids are occasionally. Most importantly, he is an alert and curious observer, and fearless about facing up to the more demanding challenges of his life (kissing, saving a friend’s life, these things).

It has been observed that Lynne Ramsey is not very cinematic here. That may be true, but is appropriate to the subject matter. It is a blunt and colourless world we are shown, you know it from recent films like “Fish Tank” or “This is England”, and would be a lie to make it look more pretty than it is. It still is a beautiful film.

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