YOUNG ADAM ***
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton,
Peter Mullan, Emily Mortimer, Therese Bradley, Ewan Stewart, Stuart
McQuarrie, Pauline Turner, Alan Cooke, Rory McCann
DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie
grim morning, two workers on a barge that travels sluggishly back
and forth between Glasgow and Edinburgh pull the nearly nude corpse
of a woman from a canal. Judging by the expression on the face of
Joe Taylor, the younger man, the woman is not a total stranger.
But we cant be sure. At any rate, he keeps mum when the cops
come round to call.
What we soon do know for sure is that Joe, an aspiring writer, has
recently landed a temporary gig as a laborer on Les Gaults
barge, a modest, just-barely-afloat vessel which also serves as
home for the kindhearted Les, his wife Ella and their young son
Jack. This being the fifties, Scotland--like so many other countries--is
ruled by rigidity and repression. Cunning Joe Taylor, however, is
his own man and definitely no slave to convention. He knows what
he wants and he is breathtakingly adept at getting it.
And what Joe craves, even more than literary renown, is hot, mind-blowing
sex, with a minimum of emotional baggage. Up to a point, this is
just what he finds with the frustrated, hungrily erotic Ella. Surrendering,
with no evident struggle, to the heat of their lust, the couple
are soon tumbling and panting virtually within sight and sound of
the alleged master of the barge.
But what about Cathie, that other woman--the younger, prettier one
that Joe fished from the water? We do get to know her intimately,
albeit in flashback, as well as in a climactic murder trial. And
the fact that we see Cathie and Joe and Ella in full frontally-nude
detail may be one of the reasons the MPAA saddled "Young Adam"
with the infamous NC-17 rating, thereby putting the film in the
spotlight for the wrong reasons. What you should really know about
writer-director David Mackenzies unsparing adaptation of the
late Alexander Trocchis cult novel is that it is brilliantly
interpreted by its four leadsEwan McGregor as the drifter,
Tilda Swinton and Peter Mullan as the victims of his manipulation,
and Emily Mortimer as the lady of mysteryand that, even at
its most unnerving, it is a richly atmospheric, perversely satisfying
drama. --Guy Flatley