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Sweet Sixteen Directed by Ken Loach There is a strong sense of documentary about Sweet Sixteen You cant help feeling that what youre watching being played out on screen is simultaneously being played out on thousands of council estates throughout the country The films director Ken Loach has provided a forum for the issues of social and economic poverty before His approach in this film is neither ground-breaking nor innovative but what he does achieve in Sweet Sixteen is something far greater He actually makes us care Many indeed most may be bored with the issue but the characters surpass the clich and hold the attention of the audience They are the everyday Joes of societies underclass as recognisable off screen as on Fortunately however they exist not just as symbolic but as well-rounded 3-dimensional characters Society may well have created thousands upon thousands of Liams but we want this one to be different The dreary urbanised setting of a Scottish council estate and the indistinguishable Greenock brogue serve to localise concepts that are essentially universal The perpetuation of the social cycle is at the heart of the underlying social commentary we have come to expect from Loach Remaining true to the form of his previous films Loach with his screenwriter Paul Laverty confront the issue at hand with a gritty realism void of the patronising sympathies that often come hand in hand with a film of this nature A great strength in Sweet Sixteen is the performance of non-actor Martin Compston as Liam Compston shows great promise as the films pathetic hero capturing with great sensitivity the intelligence and affection which endear us to the otherwise hopeless character The continual frustration of Liams dreams is at times heart-rendering Liam turns to crime because its the only thing he knows Intent on repairing his broken home law breaking is the easy if not the only route Liams motivations are of the
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