The Angels’ Share


A Ken Loach comedy? That’s not as much of a surprise at it first sounds for anyone who has seen the legendary director’s charming 1991 comedy Riff-Raff, for example. In The Angels’ Share, the award-winning filmmaker behind such uncompromising dramas as The Wind that Shakes the Barley once again exchanges his hard-hitting socio-political critiques for heartwarming and often bawdy humor with this delightfully old-fashioned, breezy caper-comedy about a scheming Scottish youngster and his mates determined to break into a distillery and make off with some pricey malt whisky. Robbie (Paul Brannigan), completing a sentence of community service for some minor criminal activity, comes under the tutelage of good-hearted supervisor Harry (John Henshaw). When Harry, a whisky lover, decides to instill a little Scottish pride in Robbie and his fellow malcontents by making them aware of their venerable heritage, his choice of field trip is clear: the local distillery. Robbie displays a surprisingly discerning nose for the good stuff and when he discovers that distilleries make allowances for evaporation – the “angels’ share” – an idea begins to brew: why not, quite literally, skim a little off the top of a premium cask and sell it to an unscrupulous buyer? A hilarious comedy about second chances, The Angels’ Share is a tender crowd-pleaser that carries itself like a fine whiskey – warm, a little sweet, and unequivocally a joy to consume. (Dir. by Ken Loach, 2012, UK, In English with English subtitles, 101 mins., Not Rated, IFC Films) Digital