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16 Years of Alcohol

September 9, 2010

16 Years of Alcohol (2004)
Director: Richard Jobson
Actors: Kevin McKidd, Susan Lynch, Laura Fraser

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Synopsis: A dying man, Frankie Mac (Kevin McKidd), reflects back on his troubled life, and his uneasy relationship with booze and violence.

Review: This is a deeply impressive cinematic work from Richard Jobson, occupying a rare and exciting piece of ground in British cinema. It belongs to neither the pop-cultural, commercial pap that has been prevalent since Guy Ritchie’s breakthrough success in the late Nineties, nor the socio-theatrical based cinema of the two Brit stalwarts Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Instead it seems to be consciously embracing a more radical Eurasian arthouse tradition, but reworked into an almost entirely convincing British sensibility.

Jobson shows real power both as writer and director, with the narrative proving constantly beguiling, due to its elliptical and memorial, rather than conventionally dramatic, tenor. The voiceover – often a misused device in films – has real lyrical and melancholic power here, and the ornate visuals (use of slo-mo, still photography, stylised lighting and unusual framing) are not redundant window-dressing but have real organic purpose. In short, 16 Years of Alcohol is a highly promising breakthrough in British film from a cine-literate director who clearly has a lot to say. Here’s hoping he can build on this promising show in his next feature. (October 2006)

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