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Total Film

December 2008

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Director Kenneth Glenaan
Starring Robert Carlyle, Rachael Blake, Steve Evets
Cert 15

Rating ****

Ignore the chirpy title: this is a bleak bite of social realism starring Robert Carlyle as Shaun, a born loser who frittered away his chances for a happy life during one teenage summer of sex and truancy and now spends his days looking after pissy, wheelchair-bound mate Daz (Steve Evets).

Aside from his occasional forays into psycho-ville, this is the kind of salt-of-the-earth, common-man role that Carlyle excels at; he brings the requisite lashings of self-loathing and mournful resignation to Shaun. Debut screenwriter Hugh Ellis lightens the heavy load with flashbacks to cheerier times with first-love Katy (Rachael Blake, a bit-parter in Lantana and Derailed) that conjure a vibrant, nostalgic charm.

Meanwhile, director Kenneth Glenaan deserves some real kudos for preventing the simple, regretful story from lapsing into mawkish tedium. Looking for the next Ken Loach? Glenaan could be your man.

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