Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews, William Eadie
Lynne Ramsay’s debut reveals her unflinching yet lyrical eye for the profound effects of trauma, that has continued to shine through her work in Movern Callar and We Need to Talk about Kevin.
Ratcatcher premiered in Un Certain Regard during the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, instantly earning Ramsay comparisons with Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Ken Loach’s Kes and marking her as one of the finest talent to emerge in the 1990s.
Set in a Glasgow tenement block in the 1970s, against a backdrop of rubbish accumulating during a dustbinmen’s strike, the film follows the twelve year old James Gillespie (William Eadie) as tragedy causes him to withdraw from his family. He is drawn to the fetid canal where he creates a world of his own. He finds an awkward tenderness with Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen), a vulnerable 14 year old expressing a need for love in all the wrong ways, and befriends Kenny (John Miller), who possesses an unusual innocence in spite of the harsh surroundings.
Ratcatcher is a compelling coming of age drama with the exceptional ability to find beauty in the mundane.