UK, Germany, Spain

Synopsis

"Liam's mum, Jean, is in prison but is due to be released in time for his 16th birthday. This time Liam is determined that things will be different. He dreams of a family life he's never had, which means creating a safe haven beyond the reach of wasters like Jean's boyfriend Stan and his own mean-spirited Grandfather. But first he's got to raise the cash - no mean feat for a skint teenager. It's not long before Liam and his pals' crazy schemes lead them into all sorts of trouble. Finding himself dangerously out of his depth, Liam knows he should walk away. Only this time, he just can't let go."

Director's Statement

Paul Laverty worked as a lawyer in Glasgow and then for a human rights organization in Central America before turning his hand to screenwriting. This is his fourth collaboration with Loach. "We are always talking about different possibilities but in the end you have to put something down on paper," says Laverty. "You need something concrete, whether it's just the age, gender, or where the character is from. It's often good just to write a scene or two to give them a voice. Then you have some sense of forward motion, even if it's to work against what's on paper."
After much discussion Laverty and Loach decide if the idea is worth pursuing. "It's got to motivate both of us, give us that little spark. If it passes the great cup of coffee test and we feel there is some energy to it then get stuck in." Once some research has been undertaken, Laverty introduces Loach to some of the people he has met. "It's a way of becoming familiar with the territory and subject matter," says Laverty. "I'll send a first draft much earlier to Ken than I probably would to others. We've been working together for a long time and I've got a lot of confidence that well just test it, probe it for all its inconsistencies which might lead us oft elsewhere.
"I should also mention another key figure in the process — Roger Smith, the script editor. He sees the script with a fresh eye and I think he has a wonderful instinct for homing in on the weak bits and asking all the tough questions. Even the casting helps refine the characters so it all changes gradually." Once the filming has started the script still continues to develop. "It's a process that doesn't really stop."

Director's Biography

Ken Loach, Director's Filmography:

1972 FAMILY LIFE
1974/6 DAYS OF HOPE
1978 BLACK JACK
1979 THE GAMEKEEPER
1980 LOOKS AND SMILES
1985 FATHERLAND
1989 HIDDEN AGENDA
1990 RIFF RAFF
1993 RAINING STONES
1994 LADYBIRD LADYBIRD
1995 LAND & FREEDOM
1996 CARLA'S SONG
1998 MY NAME IS JOE
2000 BREAD AND ROSES
2001 THE NAVIGATORS
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ken Loach

Written by: Paul Laverty

Produced by: Rebecca O'Brien

Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd

Editing: Jonathan Morris

Costume Design: Carole K. Millar

Original Score: George Fenton

Main Cast: Martin Compston (Liam), William Ruane (Pinball), Annmarie Fulton (Chantelle), Michelle Abercromby (Suzanne), Michelle Coulter (Jean), Gary McCormack (Stan), Tommy McKee (Rab ), Calum McAlees (Calum ), Robert Rennie (Scullion)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Critic’s Award – Prix Fipresci 2002
  • European Director 2002
  • European Actor 2002
  • European Screenwriter 2002
  • Feature Film Selection 2002