Source: Catholic News Service
Bleak tale set in Glasgow during the 1950s about a young Scottish drifter (Ewan McGregor) working and living on a coal barge, who becomes entangled in a web of adulterous seduction and death when the discovery of a drowned woman opens the book on a dark secret from his past. Underneath its fashionably somber nihilism, faux literary weightiness and exploitative eroticism, director David Mackenzie's feature debut is little more than a cheerless exercise in existential gloom, which suffocates under the weight of its own self-importance and, despite a superb cast, quickly plummets into a dyspeptic fog of pretension and pessimism as bleak as the gray Scottish sky. Recurring explicit sexual encounters with full frontal nudity, a pervasive nihilism, intermittent rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is NC-17 -- no one 17 and under admitted.
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