Raining Stones

(Ken Loach, UK, 1993)


Ken Loach (Kes [1969], Riff Raff [1990]) can be an astonishingly artless filmmaker. In a way that could please only the staunchest social realist buff left over from the '50s, his films continue to place their preachy political messages above the slightest attention to style, mood or nuance. The unnerving result is that his films end up like telemovies designed for Britain's Old Left.

Raining Stones offers us the same old Loach sermon about the political consciousness – or rather, unconsciousness – of the working class. Bob (Bruce Jones) is a proletarian Everyman, betrayed by the Labour Party, and seduced by the illusory promises inculcated by Catholicism.

A typical Loach stand-in gives a speech against the rampant individualism of our time while pointing to the no-hoper kids on the street, hooked on every form of opium the State can provide.

The film is not without a caustic sense of humour, stressing the rugged, survivalist spirit of even this most downtrodden social class. Surprisingly, Jim Allen's script even manages to find a positive value in the religious ideals to which the characters so desperately cling.

But why for Loach, as for so many an Old Leftie, must the burning problems of our time be so exclusively defined as issues involving men – with women forever left on the sidelines of the story as wives, daughters and barmaids?

pro Loach: Ae Fond Kiss, Carla's Song, Raining Stones, Sweet Sixteen

© Adrian Martin October 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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