Young Adam is David McKenzie's adaptation of Alexander Trocchi's novel, a romantic murder mystery set on a barge in the canals of Scotland. Lovely photography by Giles Nuttgens, complemented by a lonely score by David Byrne, provides a picturesque backdrop for what is otherwise a seedy story of morality gone far astray and hopelessness taking hold of everyday life, with sex as the only outlet. Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton both lend excellent performances to the film, acting out a strained relationship of carnal misgiving that is their mutual respite.
Working on a barge that travels to ports between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Joe (McGregor) is a randy ol' chap. He befriends Les (Peter Mullen) as they labor hard days shoveling coal and pass their evenings over pints and darts in the local pubs. But Joe is simply positioning himself to seduce Les' wife, Ella (Swinton), who he easily and frequently beds. A steamy affair with a heavy dose of on-screen coitus eventually leads to trouble for all three. A subplot concerns Joe's past romance with a girl (Emily Mortimer) whose mysterious death is reported in local papers, with flashbacks to raunchy sexual interludes representing his fondest memories of her.
What the critics are saying:
"Young Adam completely shatters the sanitised image of 50s Britain as, inch by inch, Mackenzie pulls you nose-deep into Joe's crushing existential anxiety. The effect is seamless."- Stella Papamichael, BBCi Film"This is a finely crafted film for grown-ups only ... and it's hard to remember the last time we had one that was this provocative and moving."- Rich Cline, Film Threat"Young Adam makes no sense and doesn't seem to be about anything except dirty floors, splintered fingernails and eye sores."- Rex Reed, New York Observer
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