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Young Adam (2003)

  Directed by: David Mackenzie
Written by: David Mackenzie, Alexander Trocchi
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Mortimer, Peter Mullan, Tilda Swinton
Links: Young Adam on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 3.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 179th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Young Adam (2003) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Pickpocket (1997).

"Well, at least it finished… eventually." - a review by mino

Young Adam is the story of Joe (not Adam), a young man who ends up working as a bargeman in Glasgow, with a middle-aged married couple (one of whom is called Les; neither of whom are called Adam) who own the barge and have a young son (also not named Adam). When Joe and Les discover a dead body floating in the river, Les is fascinated; Joe, oddly indifferent. Is there more to Joe's blasé attitude than just callousness, though? Why, yes there is, and we spend the next two hours finding out exactly what, in the most horrifically mind-numbing way possible.

Look: I'll cut to the chase. You know full well when you go to see a Ewan McGregor movie these days that he's going to get his gear off. He always does. However, if there's a point to Young Adam other than to show McGregor (whose name is not Adam), playing a serial philanderer, bouncing around from sack to sack with a succession of nubile-and-otherwise young (and otherwise) ladies, well, I couldn't work out what it was. The movie briefly got more interesting in parts — Joe's moral crisis towards the end of the film, for example — but to be honest, even these parts never really got anywhere, despite their promise. Nope, if you don't wanna see Ewan's wedding tackle flopping about the scene, and a selection of amply-breasted young (and otherwise) women (none of whom are named Adam) lolloping about the screen with their gear off, or getting serviced by young Mr McGregor in various ways, then Young Adam might not be for you.

There are some good performances, notably Peter Mullan as cuckolded bargeman Les, who is a really very sympathetic and endearing character (as opposed to everyone else in the film).

Young Adam is a clumsily-directed, lumpy, overlong, washed-out, dull film which is too boring and stupid to be an entertaining (or even thought-provoking) film, while simulateneously not being nearly sexy enough to qualify for SBS Saturday-Night-Titflick status. Pretty much a dead loss all around, I fear.

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 24 Aug 2004

"Excruciatingly dull" - a review by pearly

In Young Adam, Ewan McGregor stars as Joe, a young man who's not quite sure what he's doing with his life. He ends up working on a barge with a couple named Ella (Tilda Swinton) and Les (Peter Mullan), and things become quite steamy between him and Ella. Things turn curiouser when Les and Joe discover the body of a woman (Emily Mortimer) floating by their barge, and they begin to follow her story in the newspaper.

The first three quarters of this film just seemed to be flimsy plot with its main aim being to move the character of Joe from one sex scene to the next. I was sick of this after about 20 minutes, but it kept going for at least another 20, and people in the cinema began laughing out loud when a new woman came on screen, because you knew that it wouldn't be long before McGregor was going at it with her. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be funny.

I also found that direction of the film to be awful, in terms of storyline. Even with this scant plot which you had to try and make out in between all the heaving bosoms, there were some things which were supposed to be surprise twists, but you could see them coming a mile away. How they managed to hide the actual storyline so well while simultaneously giving away the surprises before they meant to is beyond me. David Mackenzie must have been directing with both a sledgehammer and a feather.

For most of the film, the actual plot seemed to be only hinted at, and it was only in the last 15 minutes or so that the film actually got interesting, as far as I'm concerned. This is, of course, far too late, and it's the first film in ages that I've actually sat through whilst giddily dreaming about getting up and walking out (which many other people actually went through with). I yawned so often that the person next to me must have thought I had some kind of excessive yawning disorder.

Young Adam is based on the novel of the same name, which was written by Alexander Trocchi. I usually think it's weird when a film comes out with a different title to the novel upon which it was based, but in this case, where the title wasn't changed, it would have been, I think, a good move to change it. Whatever relevance to the story that this title may have had in the book (I'm presuming that the "Adam" refers to the biblical story of Adam and Eve somehow, but I can't be sure) is totally lost in the film adaptation, leaving you wondering what on earth the title has to do with the film once you reach the end.

I can't really find much of value in this film. It bored me, it wasn't funny or insightful, and it didn't make me feel any of the things that I associate with feeling whilst or after watching a great film. I didn't expect much from Young Adam, but even my low expectations were not met.

pearly gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 5 Aug 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 3.00
Lowest rating: 3 (by mino, pearly)
Highest rating: 3 (by mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

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