It begins with a boy named Ryan spinning while wrapped in his mother’s curtains, and the scene shifts from slow motion to real time as his mother pulls him out of the fabric. Ryan meets James at the canal and suddenly he is drowned, clearly with James bearing much of the blame for not having raised the alarm. The film follows the sensitive James (William Eadie) as he tries to come to terms with his guilt.
Ratcatcher, written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, is a really stunning feature debut. It takes place during the Glasgow garbage strike of 1973. James lives with his father (Tommy Flanagan), mother (Mandy Matthews) and two sisters in a poor neighborhood in Glasgow 1973 where the working class is influenced by the garbage streak that over-floods the streets with trash and rats. James isolates himself from his family and makes friendship with the weird neighbor boy Kenny and with the slightly older unrestrained Margaret Anne. Ramsey evokes some breathtaking images and poetry with her incredible editing. Her film is mainly concerned with the subjective experience of childhood and its relation to death.