16 YEARS OF ALCOHOL
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A young Scot named Frankie who has had one hell of an awful life reflects upon his past and faces his demons.
Is it good movie?
"Whoa."- Keanu Reeves, The Matrix
This movie is messed up. It's not too often that you see quotes on the front of DVD amarays that really reflect a movie's true nature, but the daily star really hit this one on the head. This flick really is Trainspotting meets A Clockwork Orange.
Our character, Frankie, has had a terrible life filled with abuse from parents (well, his awful father), loved ones, and of course, drugs and alcohol. He runs with the wrong crowd, and causes all sorts of mischief around the streets of Edinburgh. Of course, he soon tries to reform himself, but soon falls back into his old ways once again. It's a nasty, brutal look at a terrible life, and it isn't easy to watch.
I must also go on to say that the acting in this film is fantastic, especially in the case of the female characters, Helen and Mary, played by Laura Fraser and Susan Lynch respectively. I was really buying what they were selling and thought that their hard work had to be mentioned and appreciated.
Alcohol is quite a taxing film to watch. It's rather emotional, and the editing and storytelling can be very strange. I appreciate the subtle directorial style of Richard Jobson. His dark, grim portrayal of Edinburgh makes the city seem like a character in itself. What I didn't like was a lot of the editing, the quick/flash style cuts that would at times sum up large parts of Frankie's relationships or daily events. Some of these stranger scenes were very abstract and at times pulled me away from the movie.
This one is a twisted film. It's not 'boy goes bad, boy hits bottom, boy meets girl, boy is ok.' I'd recommend it because it's so twisted, but read the last call before you make up your mind.
Video / Audio
Absolutely gorgeous 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that you just need to see to believe. Magnifique!
Our sound comes to us in Dolby 5.1 or DTS surround 5.1 , and is also quite good.
Our director's commentary is pretty standard. Jobson tells us a lot of background information, mostly relating to the cast choices he made, his influences, and the reasons he chose to cast the film the way he did.
How It Began – The Film in Storyboards is a feature that lets you view rough storyboard sketches while watching the film. I thought that these fairly crude storyboards were really rough and tough to compare to the real thing, but some of you might dig it.
Our Behind The Scenes feature runs a little over 25 minutes long and fairly standard. Jobson discusses how the film's story came about and was made (discovered by a Hong Kong director), and the typical cast interviews of who they are, who they play, and why the love this flick.!
Don't forget trailers! We get some of those too, for upcoming Tartan flicks.
The thing about this film is that technically, it's not better than Clockwork Orange or Trainspotting, and really seemed like more of a mix of both movies for the sake of making a film like that. It even blatantly pays homage to Kubrick's masterpiece with a shot of its' poster!
This isn't to say that this crazy ride isn't good; it really was quite interesting, but the whole thing smacks of 'been done'. If you're a fan of this extreme, semi abstract, off the wall with brutal truth filmmaking, i'd recommend you give 16 Years of Alcohol at least a couple hours of your time.