One from the heart, 3 February 2005
Author: paulnewman2001 from Hertford, England
Co-founder of The Skids-turned-film critic Richard Jobson puts his ambition where his mouth is in a striking directorial debut.
Superficial comparisons to Trainspotting are inevitable (set in Edinburgh, starring Kevin McKidd and featuring Ewen Bremner in a tale of struggle against addiction) but the gentle mood, flourishes of Expressionist style, John Rhodes' luminous photography and a haunting piano score plant this firmly in art-house territory.
After witnessing his father's philandering, Frankie Mac (McKidd) grows into the hard-drinking leader of a gang of skinheads (with Jobson trowling on the visual references to A Clockwork Orange) until the love of a good woman gives him a way out. But redemption proves a big step and his aggressive paranoia ensures he's not out of woods yet.
The work of Chungking Express director Wong Kar-Wai, who encouraged this project, is a major influence and a mixed blessing for Jobson; he occasionally over-eggs his point too literally (a moment in which Frankie appears to have come full circle is unnecessarily overplayed with flashbacks to remind you why it's poignant) and McKidd's melancholy voice-over sometimes intrudes.
But these are small flaws in a passionate, poetic film about hope which makes a genuine attempt to find a unique cinematic voice and is powered by an awesome, committed and hugely credible performance from McKidd.