- 1 hr 34 min
Ratcatcher is a Scottish drama film that tells the story of a boy named James, who lives in a poverty-stricken, rundown housing estate in Glasgow during the 1970s. The movie is directed by Lynne Ramsay and is her first feature film. It was released in 1999 and received critical acclaim for its insightful portrayal of gritty reality.
The central character of the movie is James, played by newcomer William Eadie, a young boy who is trying to navigate his way through a world that doesn't value him. The early scenes show James and his family living in a cramped flat in a tenement building that's overrun with rats. James has a daily routine of baiting rat traps with bread to catch the rodents, which he then drowns in the nearby canal.
The movie's story revolves around James and his coming of age during a summer where he becomes increasingly isolated from his family and friends. His father is distant, his mother is struggling to cope, and he has just witnessed his best friend accidentally drown in the canal. James finds solace in his imagination and in the company of a young girl named Margaret Anne, played by Mandy Matthews, who lives in a nearby caravan park.
The movie explores the themes of poverty, isolation, and loss of innocence. James' surroundings are oppressive and bleak, and he's constantly searching for an escape. His memories of his friend's drowning weigh heavily on him, and he retreats further into his own world as the summer wears on.
The movie also portrays the social and economic struggles of the time, with characters living in conditions that are barely suitable for human habitation. The housing estate where James lives is overcrowded, dirty, and dangerous. Despite being surrounded by violence, drugs, and despair, James still has dreams and aspirations. He wants to leave his neighbourhood and see the world.
The performances in the movie are outstanding. William Eadie, in his first acting role, portrays James with a quiet intensity that is both moving and heartbreaking. He captures the innocence and vulnerability of the character perfectly, even when James is making decisions that are less than noble. Tommy Flanagan, as James' father, is also excellent, playing a man who is emotionally disconnected from his family and struggling with his own demons.
The cinematography is striking, with the camera lingering on the desolate landscapes of Glasgow and the surrounding areas. The movie's visual style captures the dreary and oppressive atmosphere of James' environment. The use of natural light and muted colours, combined with the sparse soundtrack, adds to the sense of isolation and despair.
The movie's title, Ratcatcher, is a metaphor for the characters' attempts to escape their surroundings. James' daily duty of catching rats is an example of the cycle of poverty and degradation that affects the neighbourhood. The movie shows how difficult it is to break free from this cycle, as James and his family struggle to find hope and optimism in their lives.
In conclusion, Ratcatcher is a powerful and poignant movie that offers a realistic and insightful portrayal of life in poverty in 1970s Glasgow. The movie captures the sense of isolation and despair that exists in the neighbourhood, while also offering glimpses of hope and humanity in characters who refuse to be defined by their surroundings. William Eadie delivers an impressive performance as James, while Lynne Ramsay's direction captures the gritty reality of the setting. Ratcatcher is a movie that stayed with me long after the credits rolled, and is definitely worth watching for anyone who wants to experience an emotional and thought-provoking drama.
Ratcatcher is a 1998 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 77.