Thanks to a mention by Hugh MacLeod. I found out about the film Young Adam, directed by David Mackenzie. It’s a film from Scotland that’s hard to neatly categorize other than being something that is well-crafted all around. Not a feel-good story, but a somewhat dark, but always mesmerizing tale of a young man and his past. While there is a bit of a secret at the core of the film, that’s not what makes it interesting. The wonderful cast of characters Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan, and Emily Mortimer fit into the roles perfectly with understated performances that are subtle and perfect. You’re not watching actors acting, but people who you are fascinated with. A glance or a touch becomes significant and with Mackenzie’s direction it becomes an introspective story that involves us on a visceral level as the events unfold. The most difficult thing to show in a film has to be a connection between characters that feels real. Why do they love each other? What is the attraction? In Young Adam we see it between the characters. It doesn’t need to be explained in the dialogue that papers over a weak performance. Based on a novel by Alexander Trocchi, the story is sexy, haunting and meticulously constructed. Set mainly on a barge that travels between Glasgow and Edinburgh in the 1960s, the locations mirror the feeling of being trapped within the choices that you make. Every decision that we make determines our fate and it’s rare to find a film that explores that idea in such a compelling way. It’s great to find a gem like this.
Hugh Macleod also interviewed Tilda Swinton via email on gapingvoid as well as calling Young Adam “the best Scottish film ever”, which is a quite a bold statement considering the competition, but I’d tend to agree.