Alfie Watson-Brown and José Arroyo on Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)


In this podcast, we discuss Lynne Ramsay’s gritty Glaswegian drama, set in the height of the Glasgow binmen strike in 1973. Following the life and struggles of a 12-year-old boy, James, Ratcatcher is at times oxymoronic, merging beautifully poetic images, grounded in Ramsay’s background in photography, with a score which is somehow both disconcerting and momentarily blissful, to underscore its largely depressing themes.

José and I work through the general intentions and messages of the film, making an attempt to digest this complexly artistic piece’s stylistic elements. We discuss a range of elements, from Ratcatcher’s lack of sentimentality over its themes of poverty and family, to the joy and entertainment which some sections of the film evoke, and inform the discussion with some relation to the rest of Ramsay’s career. A key piece of contemporary film from one of cinema’s most well-equipped directors, Ratcatcher’s value only increases with discussion.

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