"A Child’s View of Poverty & Neglect"
What You Need To Know:
RATCATCHER is not strongly political. Even so, however, it seems to offer a romantic critique of society, with socialist elements. Thus, the story seems to suggest that the only hope for a boy like James is government housing. Apparently, faith in Jesus Christ and an active religious life are not an option. The movie does not, however, push its political theme, preferring instead to chronicle the aimless lifestyle of James, who’s too young to do anything to improve his life. RATCATCHER also contains much strong foul language, including numerous uses of the “f” word, some sexual content involving teenagers and two brief glimpses of full nudity
(RoRo, So, LLL, V, S, NNN, AA, D, MM) Godless, romantic worldview of society with socialist elements; 60 obscenities, 2 mild profanities such as “for God’s sake,” obscene gestures, & urination; accidental drowning, suicide by drowning, bullying, & man comes home with bloody hand after being in a knife fight; implied fornication, implied prostitution & 12-year-old boy lies down with older girl; upper male & female nudity & two obscured shots of full nudity when 12-year-old boy takes non-erotic bath with older girl; alcohol use & drunkenness & 12-year-old takes sip from father’s beer; smoking; and, adultery, boy hides truth about accidental drowning & older boys bully younger boys & abuse older girl.
RATCATCHER is a convincing, uncompromising portrayal of life in the slums of Glasgow, Scotland, as seen through a child’s eyes.
Viewers first meet 12-year-old James, excellently played by William Eadie, at the local canal, where he’s having a mud-fight with another, slightly smaller boy named Ryan. Their play becomes a little rough. James knocks Ryan down into the water. James runs away, too afraid to save the drowning boy, who disappears beneath the surface. James says nothing about the accidental drowning. The rest of the movie follows James as he tries to survive the economic, emotional and spiritual poverty around him.
Making matters worse for James is that his heavy-drinking father is usually more passionate about the soccer games on TV than he is about his family. Also, the neighborhood is in the midst of a garbage collectors strike, and the extra filth has brought more rats and lice into the area.
James longs to escape his surroundings. One day, he takes a trip to the new homes where his family hopes the city’s welfare people will move them. The unfinished houses are located next to a golden field of grass or wheat, where James frolics awhile before heading back home.
James befriends an older girl who prostitutes herself with the local bullies. In one scene, they take a non-erotic bath together, then sit watching TV while wrapped in towels. James also befriends a slow-witted boy, Kenny, who collects animals and wants to be a zookeeper. In the movie’s most lyrical scenes, Kenny ties his white pet mouse to a helium balloon to send it to the moon, and James dreams that the mouse actually gets to the moon, which he dreams is overrun by lots of other mice. Such scenes evoke the escape and the return to childlike innocence which James desperately wants.
RATCATCHER is not strongly political. Even so, however, it seems to offer a romantic critique of society, with socialist elements. Thus, the movie’s director and writer, Lynne Ramsay, seems to suggest that the only hope for a boy like James is government housing. Apparently, faith in Jesus Christ and an active religious life are not an option. This lack of spiritual solutions is endemic to such movies like RATCATCHER, with their frank, gritty portrayal of poverty.
Of course, the Bible commands that support for the poor should begin with the family, the individual and the church (see Deut. 14:28, 29, Num. 18:24, Matt. 6:1-4, and I Tim. 5:3-16). In fact, God’s Law in the Hebrew Scriptures suggests that religious assemblies (i.e., churches and synagogues) should set aside all of their donations every third year for religious workers, the poor, the widowed, and the fatherless. People should make movies advocating that solution. Then, maybe, government won’t have to steal money from the middle class and the rich.
RATCATCHER does not, however, push its political theme, preferring instead to chronicle the aimless lifestyle of James, who’s too young to do anything to improve his life. The intent, here, is to generate sympathy for lost boys like James, not necessarily to create a big hue and cry for social action.
RATCATCHER also contains much strong foul language, including numerous uses of the “f” word, some sexual content involving teenagers and two brief glimpses of full nudity.
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