Dir: Lynne Ramsay

United Kingdom (UK)


94 mins


Part of: BAFTA Debuts

Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews, William Eadie

Lynne Ramsay’s debut reveals an unflinching yet lyrical eye for the effects of trauma that continued to shine through her work in Morvern 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 12-year-old James Gillespie (William Eadie) as tragedy causes him to withdraw from his family and create 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.

A highly compelling coming-of-age drama, Ratcatcher has an exceptional ability to find beauty in the mundane.

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