16 Years of Alcohol - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

16 Years of Alcohol Reviews

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September 7, 2014
As a child, Frankie Mack (Kevin McKidd) is confronted with two pathways in life, relating back to his ambivalent feelings for his father. Faced with this swaggering man, a womanizer and a drinker, Frank is torn between rejection and unconscious imitation. From then on, he continually vacillates between a desire for self-control and stability, and giving in to hatred and mistrust, a legacy of his painful experience of betrayal. His first precocious glass of alcohol drags him in to a dangerous violent direction, which continues throughout his adulthood...

"16 Years of Alcohol" explores one man's battle against the social and psychological ravages of alcoholism. The film is split into three sections: Frankie's troubled childhood, his violent adolescence as a ska-loving skinhead who commands a small gang, and a period of change, in which Frankie tries to believe in hope and love. The backdrop of historic Edinburgh set the feeling and environment in which we see Frankie´s violent demise as a human being and the resurrection that still ends with his past catching up with him. It´s a balance between hope and hopelessness in his life, and the end is left open to the viewer. I saw "16 Years of Alcohol" some years ago, and re-seeing it now doesn´t change my opinion about this movie. It´s such a strong and emotional story that goes through the screen. The homage to "A Clockwork Orange" is done in a great way and I do love the voice-over from Kevin McKidd and the philosophical narrative. Kevin McKidd is excellent as Frankie Mack and the beautiful Laura Fraser as Helen is a great counterpart to Frankie. The soundtrack adds to the storyline as well.
April 26, 2014
Rarely give up on a film before it finishes. The first 20 minutes of cliched narration were unbearable. This is clumsily punctuated by a backing piano loop which attempts to cling to your sympathies but instead really fucking gets on your nerves. The movie improves past this point, but not enough to feel like more than a failed homage to Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, I stopped wasting my time less than halfway through.
½ September 19, 2012
This is on one level a very gritty story of alcohol abuse and violence; on another it is an aesthetically realised elegy to hope and hopelessness. The beautiful images of historic Edinburgh are used unpretentiously as a backdrop to mindlessly savage beatings and physical intimidation, cinematic techniques involving varied use of lighting, colour, slow motion and overt symbolism.

The artistic attempts of writer/director and former Skids band-member Richard Jobson are what make the biggest impression - hypnotically beautiful images of Edinburgh and a voice-over in that recognisable cadence, with repeating cycles of words drawing out every ounce of meaning from clichés like "hope"... He skirts cliché while playing with it, trying to show the violence endemic in that society and making many references to other films ('Clockwork Orange', westerns, 'Trainspotting', Martin Scorsese, etc.). It is larger than life and demonstrates how the mythic archetypes shape the characters rather too small for the roles they want to adopt.

'16 Years of Alcohol' won Richard Jobson the award for Directorial Debut at the British Independent Film Awards. It has received glowing reviews from Time Out, The Guardian, and Sight and Sound. It has played at festivals the world over. Forget the dismal comments of those too cynical to enjoy real film-making. See this poetic triumph for yourself.
June 25, 2012
Great movie about a young man who struggles with the effects of a life fraught with alcoholism.
April 19, 2012
Pretentious! Deeply not moving monologues by stereotypical people. What a waste of talent.
May 6, 2011
Stumbled upon this film and was pleasantly surprised. Emotionally and visually moving. Artistic. Poetic. Absolutely loved the movie. Loved Kevin McKidd. Well-done Richard Jobson.
January 15, 2011
Decent independent film. It's unique and depicts an interesting story of a boy who grows up in a broken home due to alcoholism
October 9, 2010
Good film that's spoilt by showing the ending right at the beginning for no apparent reason!
May 27, 2010
it starts off a little slow..
but give it time and it's real and its true,
its twisted and heartbreaking..

"Where is love when you need it the most?....
Where is love when the past begins to leak into your heart?....
Where is hope in a hopeless place?"
May 24, 2010
Wasn't too bad of a movie, though some parts were quite dull. I would have to say that it kind of pissed me off sometimes, but overall a decent watch.. pretty interesting as well.
½ April 2, 2010
Grade: B-

16 Years of Alcohol is one of the most depressing films I have seen; but it manages to remain interesting. The film is narrated by the main character; Frankie (Kevin McKidd), a guy in his late 20's who has been a violent person and alcoholic for 16 years. The film begins by showing the last parts of the film, and then delves in to the characters childhood. His father was a philanderer and alcoholic as well, something he found troubling and inexplicable as a child; he has grown up into a man with a hard shell around him, welcoming vices as a natural part of life (like his father). He won't let anyone in, and ends up fighting them if they try. He hold's resentment towards normalcy and balance, and does his damndest to upset it.

In with a group of three likewise violent friends, they roam the city streets of London looking for drinks and picking fights. The Clockwork Orange homage's are really the only true "entertaining" parts of the film, with the recreation of certain of Kubrick sets and similar situations from his film; even some of the costumes are subtle homage's. British Writer/Director Richard Jobson takes parts of A Clockwork Orange's framework, strips it of its avant-garde themes and stylizations, while maintaining certain character elements; he then transplants it to realistic modern day London, instead of the hyper-reality of Kubrick's vision.

Much like with Alex in Kubrick's film, Frankie is attempting to escape his past (in a very different way than Alex), and start fresh; unlike Alex's brutal procedure, Frankie, whom lives in the real world, attends Alcoholics Anonymous, finds a girlfriend who has also had a rough past, and tries to learn to see hope in a future that is not at the mercy of the past. That hope, as Frankie narrates, can be a tricky thing, a double edged knife; and even when you can forget the past, sometimes it doesn't forget you.

As interesting as the subject matter is in this film, the plot is barren of any happiness, and the characters can be extremely polarizing for a film trying to be realistic. And, Frankie himself isn't the most cinematic of characters. He doesn't speak much, and most of what we learn of him comes through his interior monologues. The narrative would be interesting, if it weren't for the fact that it is extremely repetitive and not as revealing as it should be. The film aptly tries to explain, yet it isn't really adding more meaning to the film, it's just adding words to it. It's the over explaining with no addition of meaningful content that add too, to the films derision and depressing feeling as well. It seems that the screenplay tries to fill these gaps in meaning with the monologues (it only 95 minutes long), but isn't entirely successful. If the film cut, say, 30-45 % of it's narration, the film would be much better.

The acting is pretty good, notably McKidd in the lead role, as a stony faced, impulsive, self-loathing/self-pitying Frankie. The two female leads, both girlfriends of Frankie, are well placed and thought up characters, and their presence, and differences as people, are markers for the changes that Frankie is going through. One of the women he dates before his attempts to change, and the other he meets before beginning to attend AA.

Overall this isn't a bad film, criticisms and all; in fact it's in a some ways its pretty good. I like how the film shows a man stuck in his own life make an attempt to change for the better, and not succeed with flying colours. I like that it gives "Alex DeLarge" a childhood, a formative reason for his adult behaviour. I like the homage's. I like the feelings of tension and uncertainty......I still like this film, flaws and all.
½ February 23, 2010
16 Years of Alcohol tries so hard to be something it isn't like A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting. What the film is some sort of film with an identity crisis being about a man with a troubled childhood that's grows into some type of hate group member. Weak finish with average acting, good direction, but a horrible soundtrack.
August 14, 2009
Moving film, good performances. Drags at first. Kevin McKidd is very good as the main character.
June 29, 2009
Parece um laranja mecanica estilo realista. Bem interessante, mas meio longo e mais conceitual do q o deveria ser
June 17, 2009
An interesting but flawed directorial debut. Competant in its visuals but shaky on plot.
½ June 8, 2009
"I'll be your mirror, reflect what you are, incase you don't know........."
- Lou Reed.
½ March 25, 2009
Better then Transpotting and Clockwork orange, Best Independant Film to come. shows life as dramatic as they possibly could make it with out the sob story.
March 21, 2009
FAB .. Honest TRUE to REAL LIFE Film
½ March 20, 2009
Nice independent film with a poetic flare for storytelling that is a little out of the norm. (Even if you don't get or know about all the movie, music and other references to whcih the director pays homage.)

Great to see Kevin McKidd morph from young teen to young adult so convincingly. He easily carries the film and proves he is a talent to watch.
½ December 10, 2008
great little movie.... there is a lot to reflect on and think about this movie...its definitely more than the typical kid grows up in a broken home, becomes evil, then tries to get his life together against the demons in his life

loosely based on real people...
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