Back Young Adam
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Tuesday, 01 November 2011 at 7.15pm
Tilda Swinton
  • Period drama
  • 2003
  • UK/France
  • Colour
  • 93 mins.

Ewan McGregor's infamous wedding tackle gets another outing here in the graphic, second feature from The Last Great Wilderness director David Mackenzie. Based on the novel by Scottish Beat writer Alexander Trocchi, the film is set in 1950s Glasgow, where rootless drifter Joe (McGregor) becomes employed as a barge hand on the local canals. Haunted by his past after fishing a drowned woman out of the water, he's thrown into an existential crisis that leads to a series of unfulfilling sexual encounters. Combining film noirand kitchen-sink melodrama, this moody and intimate picture is a superbly crafted performance piece. Beautiful in its gritty realism, the movie smoulders with sensuality and raw emotion, thanks in part to the brilliant McGregor's brooding masculinity. However, it's Tilda Swinton who is most mesmerising, boldly baring all as the intimacy-hungry wife of McGregor's boss. Though the tale's sedate pace and overall pessimism won't suit everyone, this is outstanding work from Mackenzie, brimming with innovation, imagination and style. A future classic.


David Mackenzie


David Mackenzie, from the novel by Alexander Trocchi


Joe Taylor - Ewan McGregor; Ella Gault - Tilda Swinton; Les Gault - Peter Mullan; Cathie Dimly - Emily Mortimer; Jim Gault - Jack McElhone; Gwen - Therese Bradley; Daniel Gordon - Ewan Stewart; Bill - Stuart McQuarrie; Connie - Pauline Turner; Bob M'bussi - Alan Cooke (2); Sam - Rory McCann