Robbie is a man who has been in and out of trouble his whole life. After his latest criminal offense, Robbie is able to narrowly avoid jail, citing his soon-to-be born son as the inspiration he needs to become a better man. Instead of jail, Robbie is sentenced to over 300 hours of community service. Harry, the man who runs the service program, routinely invites the various roughnecks, including Robbie, on trips as a way to show them what life can truly be about. On a visit to a whiskey distillery, Robbie becomes inspired, with him and his mates concocting a plan to get out of their hopeless lives. Ken Loach's Angel's Share is a story of redemption for these men and woman who have sketchy pasts. Angel's Share does a good job at showing how hard it can be for someone to leave this type of lifestyle behind, particularly with Robbie, whose criminal past mirrors that of his fathers, adding significance to the doubts of his ability to start over. He must break this cycle of hooliganism and almost everyone, including his girlfriend's father has their doubts. Early in the film we see how Robbie struggles to break away from his checkered past. He is routinely attacked by various hooligans for reasons which aren't important, unable to escape this violent lifestyle. Ken Loach brings such a warm-hearted poignancy to these types of films and it's really impressive how he is able to keep things poignant with a story that could easily become sentimental fluff. My biggest problem with The Angel's Share is that the plan which Robbie and his fellow roughnecks concoct isn't exactly moral, which for me, clouded the overall message of the film. These men steal this whiskey in an effort to better themselves and maybe that is Loach's point, but it certainly feels counter-productive to the message of not judging someone because of their past.
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