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Sixteen Years of Alcohol (2003)

16 Years of Alcohol

Directed by:

Richard Jobson

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 102 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

Richard Jobson – he of The Skids, beating people up, and over-emphasising every single syllable as a presenter on VH-1 – makes his directorial debut with ’16 Years of Alcohol’, in which the only thing more troubled than the lead character is the film itself. This tale of sort-of-redemption in urban Scotland is almost unbearably maudlin, but that’s the least of its problems.

It stars Kevin McKidd as Frankie Mac, a man who, during the process of receiving a right old kicking, looks back upon his life – a life which, quite frankly, is rubbish. He starts out as a starry-eyed youngster (played by the dark-haired Iain De Caestecker) but, having had the stuffing knocked out of him by a glimpse of his dad’s philandering, grows into a boozy, violent and – most confusingly of all – ginger individual. It looks like hope is on the horizon, though, when new girlfriend Helen (Laura Fraser) gets her claws into him. He decides to stop drinking and, far more significantly, to stop being such a complete and utter arse – but the past, it would seem, isn’t so easy to escape.

McKidd’s performance here is superb, but unfortunately Jobson’s self-penned screenplay is deeply flawed, and as a result the character is a tough one to buy into. Frankie goes on rambling, profound and poetic speeches that a bloke of his ilk would just NEVER make in a million years, never mind 16. What’s more, Jobby’s pretentious style of direction constantly threatens to turn the whole thing into a complete write-off – a real shame when you consider just how high the standard of acting is from McKidd and Fraser (seriously, why hasn’t she made it big yet?).

One thing Jobson does know, though, is his music, and it’s little surprise that the soundtrack is one of the best things about the film. Featuring perfectly-chosen tracks from the likes of the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, Iggy Pop and – of course – The Skids, it’s at least a feast for the ears, if not the eyes.

It's Got: A particularly memorable scene involving Frankie threatening to dangle an art-lover by his bum-fat.

It Needs: To be watched on a particularly wide widescreen TV, if you’re to have any hope of squeezing in the full extent of Frankie’s gargantuan collar. I’m still not sure if it’s there as a fashion statement, or to keep him from licking his plentiful wounds.

DVD Extras There’s not even a scene selection option in this sparser-than-sparse package. Edition reviewed:16 Years Of Alcohol [2003] DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Summary

‘A Clockwork Orange’ meets ‘Trainspotting’ meets an episode of the Scots sketch show ‘Chewin the Fat’ in this tremendously performed but poorly thought-out Richard Jobson gloom-fest.

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