Young Adam David McKenzie

Young Adam David McKenzie
Young Adam earned the rare and often damning NC-17 rating in the U.S. for its explicit sex scenes and disturbing behaviour. Of course, when Ewan McGregor is cast in an independent film (a British one, nonetheless), there's always a good chance sex will be involved. McGregor is well known for an enthusiasm to get his knob out in front of the camera, as he did in The Pillow Book and Trainspotting. Sure enough, he makes full use of Young Adam's X rating. Unfortunately for this film, the "adults-only" tag has overshadowed a deeply affecting piece of noir. The story (based on the book by Scottish beat poet Alexander Trocchi) is a compelling drama that is well-paced and deficient of clichéd "whodunit?" surprises. Joe (McGregor) is an emotionally disconnected drifter who threw away his career as a writer to work on a barge with Les (Peter Mullan) and his wife Ella (Tilda Swinton). The film begins with a dead body floating in the sea, which Joe and Les drag from the water. There is no time wasted in connecting the deceased to Joe, as flashbacks immediately reveal the victim to be his ex-girlfriend Cathie (Emily Mortimer). As the film progresses, you get the sense that Joe is not the typical nice guy character McGregor is accustomed to playing. His "wham bam, thank you mam" routine finds him trading lovers and revealing that sex for him is more like an animal's urge than anything pertaining to love. This is expressed graphically with the film's most unsettling moment, a torturous sex scene involving custard, which undoubtedly helped push it past an R rating. Joe's actions ultimately reveal a remorseless and empty individual that becomes more complex with each wrong he commits. Regrettably, there isn't much to this DVD release, other than an extended sex scene between Joe and Ella that was obviously cut because of its steamy nature. The additional passage narration by McGregor is throwaway material, which Mackenzie was smart to leave out. Plus: director, cast and crew commentary, previews. (Columbia TriStar)