Young Adam

2003

Action / Crime / Drama

59
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 11892

Synopsis


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Cast

Tilda Swinton as Ella Gault
Ewan McGregor as Joe Taylor
Emily Mortimer as Cathie Dimly
Rory McCann as Sam
720p
756.82 MB
1280*720
English
NC-17
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 6 / 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Colette Corr 8 / 10

More is said in silence than with dialogue

Young Adam is a powerful and atmospheric drama set on the canals between Glasgow and Edinburgh during the 1950s.

Ewan McGregor is Joe, a drifter working on a barge, when he and his boss find a body in the canal. As he begins an affair with the bargeman's wife (Tilda Swinton), we find out more about his previous relationship with the drowned woman (Emily Mortimer).

Adapted from the novel by Scottish Beat writer Alexander Trocchi, Young Adam is, in some ways, a kitchen sink drama – a vivid picture of working class life in its unpleasant reality. One of the best examples of this type of film is Room at the Top (1959). But Young Adam has existentialist overtones: Joe is alienated and passive, and not only do his numerous sexual couplings offer him little pleasure, but in rejecting the only thing that could redeem him, he condemns himself to a meaningless life. This might sound too depressing, but screenwriter and director David Mackenzie gives the film great depth and sensuality. Very interesting. ****/***** stars.

Reviewed by Colette Corr 8 / 10

Quietly Sexually Charged

Young Adam is a powerful and atmospheric drama set on the canals between Glasgow and Edinburgh during the 1950s.

Ewan McGregor is Joe, a drifter working on a barge, when he and his boss find a body in the canal. As he begins an affair with the bargeman's wife (Tilda Swinton), we find out more about his previous relationship with the drowned woman (Emily Mortimer).

Adapted from the novel by Scottish Beat writer Alexander Trocchi, Young Adam is, in some ways, a kitchen sink drama – a vivid picture of working class life in its unpleasant reality. One of the best examples of this type of film is Room at the Top (1959). But Young Adam has existentialist overtones: Joe is alienated and passive, and not only do his numerous sexual couplings offer him little pleasure, but in rejecting the only thing that could redeem him, he condemns himself to a meaningless life. This might sound too depressing, but screenwriter and director David Mackenzie gives the film great depth and sensuality. Very interesting. ****/***** stars.

Reviewed by paulekert 5 / 10

Relentless character study of a man on the run

The films focus on translating the novels first person perspective is clearly an obsession for this director. Never is the audiences attention allowed outside of Joe's point of view. We see only what he sees, we hear nothing more and we remember his life in little snatches, moments of dark disgusting and secret clarity he keeps from the world.

The film starts with a corpse, a barely dressed woman floating in the Clyde that is fished out by Joe; a young man working the barges for reasons that are not immediately clear. This brutal beginning in which we see Joe lay a tender hand on the cold dead flesh of the girl begins the film with a level of tension that rarely leaves the screen. Through his actions and - more importantly - his inactions we peel away the outer layers of a man on the run from himself, from responsibility and from guilt. We see him commit two murders by mission of inaction and we see him quietly dealing with that in one last lingering shot that tells us he will never change.

Joe is sexually driven to destroy life around him and he uses sex as a weapon against himself and against the possibility of settling or creating a future. He could be a writer, but he lacks the courage to read his own work. He could be a father, but he cannot face the thought of commitment. He could be a lover, but he makes love to women only as a means to an end, rejecting and pushing them away once the act is completed.

And this is the film in a nutshell. A relentless character study of an unpleasant man who punishes those around him for his own failings. Yes there is gratuitous sex in this film, but it has its place, it defines the moments of change in everyone else's lives while underlining the static character of Joe, played with utter brilliance by Ewen McGregor. The sex is cold, rather than erotic, reflecting the characters contempt for those he uses. Without the detailed sex scenes the film would be less than it is, but audiences expected to be titillated will come away disappointed.

Not without flaws this film has that perplexing title and a scene in which Joe beats his girlfriend after covering her with custard. The scene is alien to both the film and the character of Joe who gives no indication of being violent, rather a man that will walk out on a problem rather than face the awful possibility of confrontation. In fact Ewen McGregor seems embarrassed to play this scene, as though he too cannot link this outburst to the character he is playing.

But this minor quibble apart the film remains an artistically shot work, played with brilliance by everyone. Its rare to see a film where the whole cast are brilliant, where the script is clearly cut and the direction thought through. The visual aspect of the film is also tremendous with each shot being laid out in front of us like a painting, a wondrous work of art that moves and flows to show us the 60's post war Brittan with utter clarity.

Hollywood please take note.

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