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YOUNG ADAM

By Tom Meek

There’s no Adam in this bleak adaptation of Beat writer Alexander Trocchi’s novel set along the barge canals of 1950s Scotland, and no Eden, either. Ewan McGregor’s Joe Taylor nonetheless tries to enjoy a carnal paradise in his fallen surroundings. A drifter who lands a job on a barge operated by Les (Peter Mullan) and his wife, Ella (the celestial Tilda Swinton), Joe has few qualms about engaging Ella in a recklessly cruel affair (McGregor again shows his all, hence the NC-17 rating), often coupling within earshot of Les. Something has to give, but just when you think Joe might turn the corner, he’s off shagging Ella’s sister and his landlord’s wife. Then there’s the small matter of the man who’s on trial for a murder he didn’t commit and is likely to hang if Joe doesn’t exonerate him, but Joe isn’t too concerned with sticking his neck out. Director David Mackenzie contrasts the claustrophobic confines of the barge with the lush vastness of the Scottish countryside, and the performances are top-notch too. It’s too bad the actors’ talents are squandered on a trio of irredeemable sods. (99 minutes) At the Avon.


Issue Date: May 7 - May 13, 2004
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