Lynne Ramsay

film 4 of 4


Film Review by Mar 26, 2015

The early shorts reveal that Lynne Ramsay was a full-fledged stylist before making this debut feature. But encountering her in this new setting, the viewer is immediately struck: what a full-fledged stylist! Very good with actors too, as well as narrative structure and trajectory. It goes without saying that she’s/they’ve got the milieu down, the individuality and the collectivity and the impossibility of bad old Glasgow. There are authentic details all over the place, many of them pretty dire. (The little boy’s death is, in it’s own way, as horribly heart rending as Elsie Beckmann/M’s.) But this is not just nihilism—we have some psychological and institutional complexity (like the remarkable marital and family dynamic, at once so very dysfunctional and so sweetly sufficient), even some cheerful grace notes to relieve the prospect. That dear, savage accent! At the end their dreams come true, impossibly and more than a bit plausibly.

On the other hand: may I point out that teen sexuality, not to mention teen sexual brutality, are valid subjects to explore. But when actual teens, especially very young ones, are enlisted to act out the various issues and ideas, then exploration may become exploitation, and even corruption. The enactment of intimacy is always, to some degree, a documentation of intimacy. A text is thereby created, but what of the context that roots and protects this profound and delicate thing? Full-fledged style is a very excellent thing, but it can never be the only thing.