Old 10-05-2001, 08:30 PM
"Orphans" (9/10)

A brief Brock Landers Overview of A Peter Mullan Film (9/10)

This offbeat, dark comedy had me feeling so many emotions... some good, some bad... but overall it made me feel something special... a feeling like no other... like something new and great and wonderful in cinema, and this film is all that. Released by The Shooting Gallery, who are responsible for such great independent films as "Croupier" & "The Minus Man", this bright yet miniscule gem will probably be missed by many and it definitely deserves better.

Directed by actor/director Peter Mullan ("Trainspotting", "The Claim", etc... and winner best actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998 for his role in Ken Loach's "My Name is Joe"), "Orphans" is a meditation on life and death and most of all family. It centers around four Scottish blue-collar siblings (three brothers and a sister) who are each struggling in their own ways with the recent death of their mother. It focuses on the time period before the funeral as the four separate entities wander the mean streets of Glascow, Scotland each behaving infinitely different than the other, but all stricken with grief and sorrow at their loss, each dealing with their pain in their own twisted way.

"Orphans" is at once repulsive and touching... if you don't catch my drift just check out the "cum-shot scene" a la "Happiness" or the moving tribute at its conclusion in the graveyard. At points this film is almost hallucinatory, due in part to the camera and the amazing writing of Mullan. It stars Douglas Henshall ("Kull The Conqueror"), Gary Lewis ("Billy Elliot"), Rosemarie Stevenson, and Stephen McCole ("Rushmore"... played Magnus)... and they all put in solid and at times brilliant turns in their given roles.

The actors spend their time equally between praying and reflecting as well as being shit-faced off their ass and getting into drunken brawls. I must say that I am so fucking interested in this whole culture as it differs so greatly from my own, and I think that's another reason I enjoyed it so much, like, my lifestyle is actually somewhat comparable with people half the world away, or so it seems, as they deal with stress and loss through booze and depression, not to mention anger and resentment, laughter and lewdness.

The film itself is in English, but they had to subtitle it because the Scottish accents are so friggin' thick it's like talking to a drunk Fat Bastard right before he passes out on Austin Powers. The subtitles also add to the fun as the characters wade through their limited vocabularies, mostly focusing on word's like "cunt" (think Robert Carlyle [Begbie] in "Trainspotting" X 100 = Foul-Mouthed Bastards). The funny thing is most people don't realize that in countries like Scotland, the word "cunt" is as familiar and appropriate as words like cocksucker, motherfucker, shit, cock, and pussy are in America. While the word "cunt" still holds a bit of a stigma in the States. To each his own. Let me just add that if you enjoyed "Trainspotting", except transplant death for heroin, than I would bet my "cunt" that you will love this shite, you shandy-drinking bastard! Now, bring me a hard-ass gash of the most ping-pong tiddly in the nuclear-sub or your chevy chase will be hotter than a flaming bird's nest.

[This message has been edited by Brock Landers (edited 10-05-2001).]
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