The Angels' Share

  • 15
  • Ken Loach (2012)
  • UK / Fr / It
  • 100 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

It's been billed as Scotland's answer to The Full Monty, but this story of a young criminal who develops a taste for fine malt whisky doesn't quite have that film's underdog appeal or Everyman quality, though it picked up the Jury Prize at the 2012 Cannes film festival. The main character, Robbie (newcomer Paul Brannigan), is a volatile troublemaker who viciously assaults an innocent man, a crime that sits uneasily with the gentle, Ealing-style comedy that follows. While doing community service for his crime, Robbie meets supervisor Harry (John Henshaw), who takes him to a distillery, setting in train a plan to siphon some bottles from a cask of extremely rare whisky. Brannigan is an engaging lead and Henshaw offers light relief, but director Ken Loach, famous for his social realism, and regular writer Paul Laverty struggle to find a balance between the film's comic and serious elements. Indeed, it's telling that the best scenes are those showing Robbie's troubled home life and not the tourist-board depictions of the improbable Highland heist.

Plot Summary

Comedy drama starring Paul Brannigan. Having been sentenced to community service after carrying out assault, Robbie vows to try and keep on the straight and narrow - if only for the sake of his girlfriend and his newly born son. An opportunity to make something of himself comes when Robbie discovers he has a nose for whisky during a tour of a distillery. And when he learns that a priceless whisky is about to go up for auction, it gets Robbie's mind thinking how he might make a bit of money the fast way.

Cast and crew


Robbie Emerson
Paul Brannigan
John Henshaw
Gary Maitland
Jasmine Riggins
William Ruane
Roger Allam
Siobhan Reilly


Ken Loach

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
E1 Entertainment
Violence, swearing.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 1 Jun 2012
Certificate 15
Entertainment One