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Young Adam - Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan, Emily Mortimer, David Mackenzie

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Accident? Suicide? Murder?

A hauntingly faithful adaptation of the novel by the Scottish Beat writer Alexander Trocchi, Young Adam is a moody, sensual thriller set on the canals between Glasgow and Edinburgh during the 1950s.

Ewan McGregor stars as Joe, a young drifter who finds work on a barge owned by sexually repressed couple Les Gault (Peter Mullen) and Ella (Tilda Swinton). One afternoon Joe and Les happen upon the corpse of a young woman floating in the water, and the questions begin: Did Joe know the woman? Was her death an accident? Suicide? Murder?

As the police investigate and a suspect is arrested, it becomes evident that Joe knows more than he's letting on. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the "murder" investigation, Joe and Ella embark on an intimate and passionate affair.

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film UK drama beat 1950s death crime barge sex murder

Persons of interest

  • Ewan McGregor .... Joe Taylor
  • Tilda Swinton .... Ella Gault
  • Peter Mullan .... Les Gault
  • Emily Mortimer .... Cathie Dimly
  • Jack McElhone .... Jim Gault
  • Therese Bradley .... Gwen
  • Ewan Stewart .... Daniel Gordon
  • Stuart McQuarrie .... Bill
  • Pauline Turner .... Connie
  • Alan Cooke .... Bob M'bussi
  • Rory McCann .... Sam
  • Alexander Trocchi .... Author
  • David Mackenzie .... Screenwriter
  • David Mackenzie .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Young Adam - and I still haven't figured out why it's called that - is a "sensual thriller" in that you never know whether the killer will be caught and there's lots of rooting. You also get to see Ewan McGregor's penis (flaccid), Tilda Swinton's breasts and Emily Mortimer's snatch. It's also pretty scary because for the first half hour I thought it was set in the present. Working class Scotland is a horror in the 1950s and hasn't changed much in the new millennium (see My name is Joe).

And they all drink endless cups of tea. I don't know what the British would do without it. And they're pasty. There's not a tan-line amongst them.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Special features:
    • Commentaries: Cast and crew
    • Documentaries: The missing beat - Making of Young Adam
    • Featurettes: Ewan McGregor original passage narration
    • Soundtrack: David Byrne
    • Trailers: Theatrical

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (High level sex scenes, nudity)

Surveillance time

94 minutes (1:34 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 7 April 2005
DVD rental: 24 August 2005
VHS rental: 24 August 2005
DVD retail: 29 March 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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