Peter Mullan (2010)

18 Certificate


Our Score
A brainy teenager's inability to escape his hoodlum brother's shadow has devastating consequences in writer/director Peter Mullan's raw and intense coming-of-age drama. Evoking the angry realism of Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, it's a visceral account of how hope-filled young lives can be destroyed by oppression, brutality and social prejudice, as working-class bookworm John McGill (played superbly by newcomer Conor McCarron) tragically slips into the gang-centred world of the Neds (Non-Educated Delinquents) in 1970s Glasgow. But although shocking violence permeates his entire existence - from the corporal punishment at school to the outbursts of his drunken father (Mullan himself) - there's a well-balanced seam of jet-black humour that keeps the escalating grimness bearable. Impressive period detail and an evocative soundtrack enhance events further, and complement McCarron's performance. Sadly, the film loses its grip in the messy final act, throwing in an incongruous religious hallucination sequence that precedes a weak, allegorical climax.


A teenager in 1970s Glasgow is eager to get a good education, but finds his older brother's reputation as a brutal thug an obstacle, as everyone expects him to turn out the same way. He ultimately conforms to their expectations by falling in with a violent street gang. Peter Mullan's drama, starring Conor McCarron, Gregg Forrest and Richard Mack.

Cast & Crew

John McGill Conor McCarron
Young John McGill Gregg Forrest
Gerr Richard Mack
Beth Marianna Palka
Benny McGill Joe Szula
Mr Wilkinson Gary Lewis
Mrs Matheson Linda Cuthbert
Director Peter Mullan
see more

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment One UKGuidance: Violence and swearing.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 21 Jan 2011