In the inner city ganglands of 1960's Glasgow, urban decay is rife, territory is all and woe betide those who break the boundaries. On one side, the Glens, led by the suavely sinister Charlie (Garry Sweeney) and on the other, the Tongs, headed by "mental" Malky (Kevin McKidd). In between are the brothers Maclean. When the youngest, Lex (Iain Robertson), a thirteen-year-old with ideas above his station, "inadvertently" shoots Malky in the face with an air-pistol, the brothers become irreversibly embroiled in a gang war beyond their control.
Good - but a little too idealised and sentimental
- Small Faces review by RP
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You rated this film: 3
Yet another coming-of-age / rites-of-passage film. This one is set in 1968 Glasgow and follows the Maclean family and three brothers Bobby (18 - a semi-literate member of the Glen gang), Alan (16 - headed for art school) and Lex (a rebellious 13 year old). The tale is told through the eyes of Lex as the two younger brothers make their way uneasily between the Glen and the Tongs - and Lex's actions end in violence and tragedy.
The film is well made and well acted and there some striking visuals, such as the trail of blood after Bobby is stabbed at the ice rink. The film was made in 1996 and despite the violence portrayed it seems to have a romantic view of gang culture in the 1960s. I'm reasonably certain that it was far worse than shown here and it just doesn't ring true to me. For a more recent - and, I suspect, more accurate portrayal - see Peter Mullan's film 'Neds' which deals with Glasgow gangs in the 1970s.
While I enjoyed the film (although I'm not sure that 'enjoyed' is quite the right word here) I felt that it was too idealised and sentimental. 3/5 stars - but I'd like to give it more. Recommended.