In the U.S., Ken Loach is one of the best-kept secrets in British cinema. Almost no one does more with less more often than Loach, whose films deal with social turmoil, presented on shoestring budgets. His most recent effort, The Angels’ Share
, doesn’t stray far from Loach’s usual pattern, except toward the end, where it gets all feel-goody, and in a way that undercuts his point about the vicious cycle of urban poverty in the U.K. Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is a small-time thug who is given a second chance because he’s a new father. His second chance—community service—introduces Robbie to a whole new world: whiskey tasting. He’s a natural, as it happens, and Robbie begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Brannigan is really just a kid off the street and he does good work here, but it’s far from Loach’s best.