Subtitles make the thick Scottish accents decipherable as a 15-year-old Liam (an excellent Martin Compston) pries himself loose from the control of his grandfather and his mother’s boyfriend when they force him to smuggle drugs into prison. Liam is beaten by the men and flees to his sister’s home. He then begins to push drugs himself to buy a trailer and support his mother (Michelle Coulter) upon her release from incarceration, but his survival is threatened when his best friend, Pinball (William Ruane), becomes a liability. Director and left-wing activist Ken Loach explores the cyclic nature of crime here much the way he approached the cyclic nature of both crime and alcoholism in My Name is Joe
. The film is populated by full-blooded characters and masterfully interweaves biting humor with heartache.