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Few movies are as vividly tactile asYoung Adam. The way the cold blue light of Scotland envelopes everything--wooden bannisters, rippling water, rough fabric, coal soot caked in human skin, and flesh itself--makes you feel like you could reach out and touch it all. A failed writer named Joe (Ewan McGregor,Big Fish), slumming on a coal barge, finds himself drawn to barge's owner Ella (Tilda Swinton,Orlando,The Deep End), despite the presence of her husband Les (Peter Mullan,My Name is Joe). But Joe's passion is haunted by the girl he's abandoned (Emily Mortimer,Lovely&Amazing), whose memory becomes more and more powerful as a murder trial unfolds. The acting inYoung Adamis magnificent, without affectation yet completely affecting. It's a moody film, but its deep engagement with its characters and the world they inhabit will make a lasting impression.--Bret Fetzer
L'ATALANTE, SCOTTISH STYLE Based on Alexander Trocchi's [[ASIN:0802139779 Young Adam]], this movie was written and directed by Scottish director David Mackenzie in 2003. Since then, David Mackenzie also directed [[ASIN:B000BNX4MW Asylum]], the fascinating tale of a woman falling in love with a mad man.
Ewan McGregor is a drifter who uses to seduce every woman in sight. When his last girl-friend Emily Mortimer accidentally drowns in front of him, Ewan accepts to work on Peter Mullan's boat. Emily's corpse is found and an innocent married man is charged with the young girl's murder. Ewan seduces Tilda Swinton, his employers's wife, then even Tilda Swinton's sister while the accused is put on trial and sentenced to death.
YOUNG ADAM is a "cold" movie with its characters who are making love a lot but who don't love each other. The corpse of Emily Mortimer, after two days in water, is more vibrant in its frailty than the cold bodies of Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton, mechanically making love under the Scottish rain. YOUNG ADAM is a film a philosopher like Albert Camus could have written. It's a smart but desperate movie.
A DVD zone Ingmar Bergman is alive and well and living in Scotland.
More Black Scottish Humor Ewan McGregor stars as "Joe Taylor"in "Young Adam," about a young Scottish drifter with literary pretensions working a coal barge that travels Glasgow to Edinburgh. The movie opens on his finding, and fishing out, the semi-nude corpse of a pretty girl from the black and frightening Clyde River (at the bottom of which we see the typewriter he dumped a while before). Taylor claims to know nothing about this corpse, but by the time the movie, directed by David Mackenzie, and its numerous flashbacks are done, we'll know that he actually knew her quite well: in fact, she was pregnant by him.
You wouldn't expect life on a coal barge to be clean, nor is it, and the makeup artists have done quite a job with the ordinarily handsome McEwan. He's pasty, as befits a resident Scot, drinking and smoking heavily, eating that unhealthy Scots diet, never seeing the sun. And there's ground-in coal dust on his face and in his clothes. The striking Tilda Swinton costars as Ella Gault, married to Les: they operate the barge together though we later discover she owns it. Poor Tilda, dead pale, hair lank and filthy, limited, dirty wardrobe: monosyllabic dialogue: in a career of choosing unexpected parts, this might be the least glamorous role she's ever played.
Anyway, for a married father,and a major male movie star, McGregor is also known for his daring choice of parts, indie and mainstream. He's played gay, and gay love scenes, and doesn't shrink from full frontal nudity. We've got some of that in "Young Adam,"as well, in the frequent, rather graphic sex scenes. His character Joe Taylor seems to fancy every woman he sees, and they all seem to fancy him right back. Mc Gregor is Scots, born in Crieff, educated at Kirkcaddy College, first came to notice in Danny Boyle's 1994 black comedy "Shallow Grave," and to stardom in Boyle's even blacker 1996 comedy "Trainspotting." Mc Gregor has starred in "Guys and Dolls" on the London stage, made "Moulin Rouge" and "Down With Love" in Hollywood, and "Little Voice" in England.
Swinton, best known for "The White Witch" in "The Chronicles of Narnia,"singes the screen with McGregor in their sex scenes, and for a woman with hardly any dialogue, she manages to express quite a lot. She was born in London of an Australian mother and a Scottish father, who was a Major General in the Scots Guard. It's said that the Swintons are the oldest family in Scotland and England: the male line has proven descent back to Saxon times. She currently lives in Nairn, Scotland.
The movie doesn't ever get off its Glasgow to Edinburgh axis, and not a whole lot happens. To be sure, Taylor gets quite a bit of female attention, and proves to be not a particularly likeable man. Ella demonstrates that she knows her way around a boat. There are some fairly taut courtroom scenes. But if you're a movie-movie person, the mise en scene is great, and the acting is at the highest level.Loses purpose to shock value I will admit that 'Young Adam' has two things going for it...an eerie mood that works wonders for the story, and flawless acting that elevates this movie past what it deserves. I just finished watching this movie, and while the story itself is decent, it's ruined by the lack of attention it receives. The story of a young man Joe (McGregor) who finds his dead lover face down in the water is intriguing in itself. The story forces the actions of Joe upon all those whom he meets and befriends, especially Les and Ella (Peter Mullan&Tilda Swinton), the couple whom he lives with, working on their barge in Scotland. The movie could have approached this film by picking apart the inner human in these central characters but instead it focus's on an elicit affair between Joe and Ella, showing the two having sex numorus times without any rhyme or reason. In fact, almost 80% of this film is sex related, yet it never really explains what triggered the affair, why Joe has sex with everyone he meets, why Ella prefers Joe to her husband...and most importantly it just skirts around the murder of Joe's ex-lover (Emily Mortimer) only really tackling it at the end of the film. It's not a terrible movie, I just feel they lost it's potential amidst all the shock-antics they obviously felt compelled to do. I normally don't object to sex and nudity, I actually welcome it...but when it takes away from the film it becomes cheap and that's just not entertaining.