Before We Saw the Trailer, We Thought: Since taking the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival with his Irish War drama (and biggest box office hit yet) “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” Scottish director Ken Loach has premiered four films in just six short years. While most have been relatively well-received, it had begun to feel that the runaway success of 2006 may have been unrepeatable for the 76-year-old legend. But buzz has only been building around his new film “The Angels’ Share” after it landed a spot at last year’s Cannes and was subsequently awarded the Jury Prize amid universal raves.
A UK release followed just one month after the premiere, resulting in it becoming something of a crowd-pleaser for the realist director. In the last year, the film has been slowly rolled out in international markets but was surprisingly absent at many of the larger North American festivals.
And Now? One look at the film’s new trailer, released by Sundance Selects in anticipation of its’ April 12 limited release, all but guarantees the film’s ability to quickly become an audience favorite with its combination of Loach’s regular realist tendencies and a story of contemporary redemption in line with a lighter side hardly exhibited in his recent works. At this point critical acclaim seems all but guaranteed from critics who have yet to see the film, but the trailer’s mix of sincere family drama with the more lighthearted heist elements suggest a film that could be his biggest since “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”
The trailer spends most of its time providing exposition for the film’s plot, following the young Robbie (Pual Brannigan) who’s girlfriend goes into labor just after he is placed with community service in lieu of a lingering prison sentence. Through a friend he begins to become involved in the Whiskey Distillery business, giving him an opportunity to pull off a heist of one of the world’s most valuable bottles of whiskey that may allow him and his family the financial security they desperately need.
While it may be at fault for being a bit too on the nose (“Robbie’s luck was running out,” states the trailer’s narrator over his arrest), the clips from the film are able to easily transcend the cliched formatting of the trailer. Each actor appears to be giving it their all in a story that Loach has clearly involved himself in greatly. And the joyous tone that arises out of this makes the film look like a fitting next step for the director that many were hoping to see.