Film: Riff Raff pg rating Year: 1990
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Ken Loach
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Emer McCourt,, Willie Ross, Ricky Tomlinson

Also see our Guide to Ken Loach, or visit our Ken Loach UK or Ken Loach US stores, or see our reviews of other Ken Loach films It's A Free World, Kes, Looks And Smiles, My Name Is Joe, The Navigators, Poor Cow, Raining Stones, Sweet Sixteen and The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

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Riff Raff Synopsis - Riff Raff is set in the early 1990's to the backdrop of the tail end of Thatcher's rule. Stevie a young man who goes down to London to find work on a building site. The building site is full of laborers from various parts of the country trying to scrape a living on the site. Stevie meets Susan, an aspiring singer, and they start a relationship. They live in a squat and life is difficult as they struggle to survive on Stevie's low wages, but however hard things are they can get worse.

Review of Riff Raff - Riff Raff is a fabulous film and also a great example of how good Ken Loach is at encapsulating a mood of (a certain part at least) the nation. When dissent against the Thatcher legacy was still relatively muted, Ken Loach provides a well thought out and masterfully subtle damning of the policies of the Tory government within the context of a love story. I believe this was Robert Carlyle's first major film role and for the first half of the film his performance seems rather ill at ease and he seems reluctant to join in with the improvisation that the other cast members seem very comfortable with. But by the end of the film he had obviously found his confidence and the performance is very accomplished. Emer McCourt turns in a great performance and one wonders why she has not made many more films (she was excellent in the later film Boston Kickout). Ricky Tomlinson and Willie Ross give the usual great performances you expect from them.
The reasons I recommend Riff Raff are: 1. A very true to life to story, skillfully written to show the realities of hard times. 2. A great ensemble cast at ease with the improvisation required to carry off the story in a realistic way.