> Volume 6 > Number 22


David Mackenzie

Ewan McGregor
Tilda Swinton
Peter Mullan
Emily Mortimer
Jack McElhone
Therese Bradley

Release: 16 Apr. 04

Young Adam


Resigned to have sex -- the Christina Aguilera Dirrty kind, with trash cans, cigarette smoke, and flies to accentuate their decrepitude -- with every woman in Scotland, Joe (McGregor) might seem like the everyman of the beat generation. But where there was an understanding of a time period and philosophical view of life in the works of Ginsberg and Kerouac, Alexander Trocchi instead offers sexual odysseys that say nothing about the characters in his novel Young Adam. Directed by David Mackenzie, the film incarnation of the torrid misadventures of a pseudo-Holden Caulfield tries desperately for neorealism in its introduction of fly to breast, but without a story or character worth noting, the pretty pictures he and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens capture offer nothing more than much needed diversions from the storyline.

What’s most disturbing about this is the cavalcade of great actors wasted on this material. With only McGregor’s brooding Ron Jeremy persona engulfing the entire picture, performers like Peter Mullan, Emily Mortimer, Tilda Swinton, et al. are relegated to playing the wives Joe fucks and they are cheating on. This isn’t like Gladiator, where the thoughtless use of fine actors comes as a byproduct of the genre, tense chamber dramas like this is where actors should thrive. Instead they are marionettes with sex organs, left to interact until the puppeteer tires of them and sets them aside

©2004, David Perry,, 28 May 2004