Whisky Galore (2017)

Image courtesy of: Arrow Films

To think that Peter McDougall, the writer of hard-hitting sectarian dramas such as Just Another Saturday and Just A Boy’s Game, as well as the gritty Jimmy Boyle biopic A Sense of Freedom, has penned a script which at best can be described as underwhelming and at worst as flat as a witch’s ***!

To think that Gillies MacKinnon, the director and co-writer of Small Faces which won Best New British Feature at the 1995 Edinburgh International Film Festival, has turned an Ealing classic into a Last Of The Summer Wine spin-off which only has one thing in galore: tumbleweeds.

And to think that Scottish veterans of stage and screen such as Gregor Fisher, Anne Louise Ross, James Cosmo, John Sessions and the late Sean Scanlan – not to mention the bizarrely miscast Eddie Izzard as the straitlaced and stiff-lipped Captain Waggett – read the script and thought count me in. To think!

Everything about Whisky Galore! feels forced and false. From the wayward accents which change as often as Imelda Marcos in a shoe shop; and the Visit Scotland soundtrack, which to use Burns-speak is a tartan and twee stramash of “hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels”.

To the fictional island of Todday, which is so devoid of background artists it could be twinned with River City’s Shieldinch; and the slack sound editing, which is reminiscent of Larvell Jones’s impression of a badly-dubbed martial arts star in Police Academy. And as for the special effects when the ship runs aground: think Thunderbirds.

Regarding dialogue, one line raised a laugh. “You should get that toilet door fixed, Miss Macroon,” said Kevin Mains as the Customs officer Farquharson, to which Naomi Battrick as Peggy replied, “I don’t know what it’s like on the mainland, but here on the island it’s very rare for someone to steal a bucket of shite.”

One raised a smile: “How come you’ve got a face on you that would turn a funeral up a side street?” And one raised a tear, that from the late Sean Scanlan as the bedridden Old Roddy who after sipping some illegal contraband triumphantly declared: “Dram fairly revives you. It brings marrow back to the old bones.” Unlike Whisky Galore! which shares the same fate as the S.S. Cabinet Minister in that it sinks like a stone.

Whisky Galore (2016)
Whisky Galore poster Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Writer: Peter McDougall
Stars: James Cosmo, Ellie Kendrick, Sean Biggerstaff, Eddie Izzard
Runtime: N/A
Rated: N/A
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Released: N/A
Plot: Scottish islanders try to plunder cases of whisky from a stranded ship.
Peter Callaghan

Peter Callaghan

Writer at reviewsphere
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Dramatic Studies graduate, actor, writer and drama workshop leader. As well as a performance poet and corporate roleplayer.
Peter Callaghan

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