Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

'Rat' Exposes Hopelessness of Projects.

Byline: The Dark JONATHAN RICHARDS For the Journal

Lynne Ramsay's first feature is set in the grim and grimy world of Glasgow's public housing projects, during a garbage strike that has left the already bleak cityscape strewn with mountains of black plastic bags where rats swarm and children play. And yet it's not exactly about poverty.

Ramsay's characters have food and shelter, decent clothing, telly, and dance records. They have a subsistence level of comfort. What they don't have is hope.

Ramsay, a former still photographer, begins her film with the almost still image of a little boy twisting inside a plastic shower curtain. It suggests a caul or a shroud or a ghost. The sound is muted and the action is in extreme slow motion, until the boy's mother cuffs him and tells him to stop messing with her shower curtain, and sends him outside to play. He meets a friend, James, they horse around in the shallow canal that runs by the projects, and a moment later he's drowned.

"That wasn't your main character," Ramsay is telling us, "this is your main character," and the next hour and a half deals with the forlorn, guilt-heavy existence of skinny, pinch-faced, jug-eared James (William Eadie). …

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