Angels' Share Movie Review
Snatch without the edge, Angel's Share is a sort-of-heartwarming British crime drama-comedy that is well done but largely unremarkable. Now playing in limited American theaters, Angel's Share evaporates from memory like so much whiskey.
Paul Brannigan is Robbie, a down-on-his-luck small-time-criminal who is seeking a way out of his dead-end life but doesn't see a way to do it. With a wife (girlfriend?) and young child, he desperately needs a chance, and discovers it when the local refinery discovers a priceless barrel of ancient whiskey. But can he and his knucklehead friends pull off the perfect crime?
From the writing/directing duo that made 2002's Sweet Sixteen, a well done but far-from-absorbing crime drama, Angel's Share is a more lighthearted venture but equally without impact. Brannigan delivers a fine performance as the lead protagonist, but his character is so unassuming he is unable to command the film. The problem lies less in the actor than the script, which tries so desperately hard to tell a down-to-earth story it forgets that the end result is a movie.
There just isn't much to Angel's Share. The crime is clever but uneventful, and - incredibly strange for a crime story of any sort - the movie lacks any twists, complications or anything else. In fact, the movie lacks much conflict at all, other than a brief moment where Robbie is chased by some thugs and an amusing scene where some police officers stop the crew unaware that they have just stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of whiskey.
Despite its shortcomings, the movie is sprinkled with a few worthwhile nuggets. James Casey plays the lovably stupid Dougie to perfection, and some other supporting actors carry their weight as well. There are some other funny moments, and the overall concept is strong.
Angel's Share is by and large harmless. Unfortunately, being harmless is also the movie's greatest sin. In a movie about stealing whiskey, that's... well, that's another sin.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.