Perhaps it's not entirely fair to say that the idea of art cinema is profoundly un-British. Un-English, perhaps. David Mackenzie's Young Adam is a thoroughly Scottish film in subject and in mood; its steely poetry, and very European belief in letting images speak as much as words, can only be compared in recent British cinema with the work of another young Scottish director, Lynne Ramsay. Young Adam is based on a novel by Alexander Trocchi, the Glasgow-born writer affiliated to the Beats, whose life and work were very much a revolt against British insularity and staidness, and against Scotland itself.
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Storyline: Joe, a rootless young drifter, finds work on a barge travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh, owned by Les and his wife Ella. One afternoon they discover the corpse of a young woman floating in the water. As the police investigate and suspect is arrested, we discover that Joe knows more than he is letting on. Meanwhile an unspoken attraction develops between Joe and Ella, heightening the claustrophobic tensions in the confined space of the barge. Written by Anonymous User Reviews: Dark, bleak and brooding, Young Adam is a film charged with unexploded tension throughout. The body of a dead woman appearing in the Clyde leads to a trail of unravelling that leaves a queasy feeling in the stomach right to the very end of the film and only then do we realise the significance of the title.
It refers to the Book of Common Prayer's baptism rite: "Oh, merciful God, grant that the old Adam in this Child may be buried, that the new man be raised up in him"--and the "old Adam" has been a euphemism for original sin in English literature ever since. He's a thwarted writer, able neither to create nor to take his place in the smothering world of bourgeoisie Scotland in the late s. He can't roam free. The women keep hooking him up.