Ratcatcher | Chicago Reader

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Social and magical realism make cozy bedfellows in this 1999 drama set during a garbage strike in 70s Glasgow, as writer-director Lynne Ramsay elegantly reduces two generations to products of their environment. Twelve-year-old James (William Eadie) weathers his father's neglect and dreams of a better life, hoping the housing authority will assign his family a new home, and his sometimes passive-aggressive, sometimes boldly compassionate behavior isn't predictable, even if its implications are. In daring dark compositions, James, a 14-year-old girl he befriends, and a gang of boys she has sex with are treated with the same enlightened moral neutrality, but shots like a close-up of James's father drooling in a drunken slumber betray the usual patronizing sympathy. The Scottish dialect is subtitled. 94 min.

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