Vittorio De Sica's 1948 neorealist classic, "The Bicycle Thief," concerns the poverty that plagues a small boy and his father. In "Ratcatcher," director Lynne Ramsay examines the oppressive conditions that gnaw away at the dreams of 12-year-old James Gillespie (a deadpan William Eadie) and his Da (Tommy Flanagan), a man who drinks too much. The entire Gillespie family is waiting to be approved for a new home, away from the filthy canal that already claimed one young drowning victim--an accident James guiltily witnesses. He and Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen), a teen willing to endure joyless sex with the local boys, find innocent solace in each other's company.
In this spare and harrowing production, Scotland never looked grimmer. Starring Tommy Flanagan, William Eadie, Mandy Matthews, Leanne Mullen, John Miller, Michelle Stewart and Jackie Quinn. Written and directed by Lynne Ramsay. Produced by Gavin Emerson. A First Look release. Drama. Scottish-dialect; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 92 min.