Riff-Raff - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Riff-Raff Reviews

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January 17, 2015
Brilliant performance by Carlyle in his first film lead.
October 29, 2013
Another wonderful slice of working class life from Ken Loach. This time it is centered around a building site in North London. Some really funny scenes, notably... Ricky Tomlinson's venture onto the fourth floor and the mobile phone call. Anyone who worked a dead end job can relate to this flick and Karl Marx himself could have written the script.
August 29, 2013
Reliable Ken Loach social commentary laced with humour, affection and honest portrayal of the working class in 1990's London.
½ July 26, 2013
An interesting film that really shows what happens to the working class when they have no unions--summary dismissals, low pay and unsafe working conditions. However, the opposite is union corruption and pay and benefits so over priced that the work goes elsewhere. There is no easy solution. This film does make one more aware of the plight of the lower part of the working class existing on the edge of society and their lack of job security. Although supposed to be a comedy and a drama, except for the scattering of the ashes, I found very little that was the comedy part.
½ June 28, 2013
Riff-Raff is a social commentary about unsafe working conditions that effectively shows how it affects the workers and how far they will go to combat it.
½ April 13, 2013
I love Ken Loach (Kes is the best, you simply must watch it so that it will crush your heart in its talons), and I love the premise and philosophy underpinning this movie (how many movies sympathetic to labor came out in the 90s? like none? neoliberalism had its bloody claws in deep by then in both Britain and the US), but there is just something about this movie that makes me yawn myself to death. I like the characters, I like the look, I like the writing, but I've gone back to it maybe a half-dozen times and I just can't watch more than a bit without shutting it off, even when I've picked up where I left off. It's probably because no plot materializes in the first half hour or so, I dunno. Sorry, Ken, it's me, not you :(
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2012
Not the true life story of a character from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Riff-Raff is another worthy addition to the Ken Loach series of working class folks oozing with real dramatics.
June 20, 2012
During the 1980's, Ken Loach found himself nearly being blacklisted from TV and film, getting what work he could, a few political documentaries he did were banned by ITV. However, when he did Hidden Agenda (1990), he was suddenly back in vogue, and Channel 4 let him make this realistic yet gently witty film about what employment was like at the tail-end of Thatcher's era. It's well made and has some memorable moments. Stevie (Robert Carlyle) has come from Glasgow to London in search of better employment and a better way of life, he finds himself on a building site, converting a derelict old hospital into a block of luxury flats for rich clients. Stevie quickly becomes friends with Shem (Jimmy Coleman), Kevin (David Finch), Kojo (Richard Belgrave), Fiaman (Ade Sapara) and Larry (Ricky Tomlinson), the latter seems to blame Thatcher for the UK going wrong. Stevie becomes friends with unemployed pop singer Susan (Emer McCourt), who moves into the abandoned flat that Stevie commandeered with the help of Larry. Stevie and Susan struggle to get by living on the breadline with little money and no help or support from Stevie's employers. It's a sad picture of what had happened to the UK at the end of Thatcher's era, this came out 7 months after she was ousted, but even then, people were still feeling the depression of 6 and a bit more years of Tories ruling the country. But, Carlyle is very good, and you get the added bonus of seeing Ricky Tomlinson naked. Charming. :P
June 9, 2012
I was disappointed by this. Loach's style of using cheap and amateur casts does not always work, especially when the improvisation results in everyone speaking at the same time which is a nightmare to follow. The incredibly unsubtle dropping of social messages seemed out of place in the middle of a session of humourous banter. On the plus side, it is very similar to "Auf wiedersehen pet - the movie" if ever there was such a thing.
½ February 20, 2012
An interesting insight into the lives of the working class....mostly humorous and tense at times...a good watch overall
½ July 16, 2011
Construction workers are jolly against all odds. Great actors representing their britishness with a variety of accents. A note for all The Big Lebowski fans - it seems that the ash scattering scene has been based on an episode from this film.
December 19, 2010
Det här är en av Loach tyngsta rullar och Carlyles genombrott. Ricky Tomlinson är helt suverän!
½ December 5, 2010
Pretty real. Eleanor was not impressed by the denouement, or the swearing. Robert Carlyle does poor working class with brio. Ken Loach portrays well what IMDB calls 'the working man's struggle against Thatcherism'. Ricky Tomlinson is excellent as the site intellectual. Emer McCourt is cute as the insecure junkie love interest. Above all, it's funny. A good 'un.
October 17, 2010
The first three quaters of this I quite enjoyed, lots of political commentary and humour set in a typically gritty and real Loach lansdscape. The movie does unravel a bi in the final part, with everything going quickly wrong and then an almost premature ending.
Super Reviewer
September 23, 2010
This film is a slow starting one, with very little storyline throughout, it?s billed as a documentary style film, which does come across, but not quite how you?d expect that to be. Something drives this and makes you stay with it, despite it?s lack of excitement, this is a pretty miserable film.
½ September 17, 2010
Stevie, a laborer and a squatter, and his co-workers go through a series of episodes that explore working-class life. A splendid piece of social commentary, speckled with rewarding moments of comedy. The actors are all strong (particularly Robert Carlyle in the lead, but they all do a great job), and the characters they portray are personable and believeable. I wouldn't call this a brilliant masterpiece or anything, but it was quite enjoyable on several levels. However, the accents made it difficult to understand a lot of the dialogue. Also, Stewart Copeland's music is good, but seemed inappropriate to me. I think it would have been a better film without any score.
½ August 25, 2010
The hard life of itinerant labourers as portrayed by Ken Loach.
May 3, 2010
Thursday April 1, 2010

(1990) Riff- Raff


The film, the Queen of England does not want people to see!! Like some of Mike Leigh's films with it's subtle messages about the low class, this is a no holds barred social commentary film about society with a nice story in the middle. And is also one of the most important British films in movie history about unsafe practices amongst it's citizens. I have no idea how this kind of society is like right now in 2010 but at the time of when this film was made about it's citizens rises alot of questions about not what should be done BUT what has to be done along time ago!!!

This is also one of Robert Carlyle's early film gems before hitting it big with "Trainspotting"!!

½ January 3, 2010
warm and sad, good characters
½ December 18, 2009
I'm pretty sure Coen brother took from this film the ashes scene for "The Big Lebowski" :)
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