GFF 2022: Angry Young Men

There's plenty of invention in shoe-string budget feature Angry Young Men and sequences that work brilliantly, but there's little to draw you into its central drama

Review by Rory Doherty | 10 Mar 2022
  • Angry Young Men

You can tell if a film is a labour of love even if you don’t know the story behind its creation. The passion of every cast and crew member on Paul Marris’ no-budget gangland debut is clearly on screen, as their characters try to take control or break free from the dreary scheme life of the fictional Mauchton. But while there’s a lot of inventive creativity to see in Angry Young Men, its comedy and drama can feel too distinct to truly blend together.  

The ensemble cast is game, and all bring a lot of singular Scottish weirdness to the erratic characters, but you never get the sense of a town beyond the gang members. Due to limited casting resources, this is understandable, but when later scenes call for dozens of extras, you’re left hankering for a taste of Mauchton’s broader community to bring everything more convincingly to life.

There are sequences that work brilliantly; sweeping camera moves and excellent, dynamic framing is mixed with Morris and Patrick Boland’s pulsing score to build tension and keep the film visually engaging. But the dialogue can feel both under- and overwritten, so there’s little to draw you into the gang’s drama. While it’s commendable Morris is aiming for a more heightened, strange comedic tone (searching a house for alcohol/poppers to offer criminals is a particular highlight), a lot of it feels strained when it should be effortless. Morris has exciting promise, but hopefully his team will produce something tighter on their further endeavours.

Angry Young Men had its world premiere at Glasgow Film Festival