Ratcatcher, a hidden Criterion Collection jewel.
Sorry I was quiet, crazy working hours.... but had some movies in my bag :)
Just watched it.... Ratcatcher is one of those hidden Criterion Collection's treasures.... you wonder how the hell it went overlooked like this. Few days ago I wasted an hour on a piece of Eurotrash that was hailed by everybody (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, that even won few awards in 2007-08).
Ramsay's first feature should be added to those great first works (knife in the water, spirit of the beehive... etc). I'm really surprised that it didn't catch more attention, even for those who are not interested in movie making per se, it is such a well-told story and that's more than enough.
The movie takes place in Glasgow (where the director was born and raised) in 1973, when the garbage men's strike flooded the poor neighborhood with black plastic bags and rats.
Amidst the chaos, James is a young boy who (five minutes after the movie starts) is left to deal with a guilt: a consequence of innocent child play that will suffocate his own existence. The movie explored his relation with his family and his entourage (especially a young teen the neighborhood guys constantly harass).
Lynne Ramsay (a Scottish photographer) did a terrific job in her first feature... she has a good eye, knows exactly when to have a close-up... she used multiple modes (handheld outdoors, fixed indoors, interesting monochromatic lighting, some B&W imageries....tracking shots). She's also a terrific story teller, and the way she explored childhood/early teen shows she's a good observer.
The sound track usage is minimal (as Ramsay also stated in the interview on the DVD), as original score, there is a motif that plays especially during moments of reflections... interestingly enough also a nice piece of a Nick Drake's song (can't tell which one and too lazy to look it up now) plays -out of the blue- when James is alone in the bus... and a couple of more scenes are accompanied with popular folk songs.
the ending of the movie is very teasing, yet justified.... I -personally- think that the last scene is a fantasy, a dream, a last thought... why? will wait for you guys to watch it first....
This is the Trailer
This is the Criterion Collection page, and a fair article on it.
Dan, this is a MUST !