Social and political troubles propel the Everymen in nearly all of British director Ken Loach's films, from the blue-collar blues of Riff-Raff and the injustices served on Los Angeles' Hispanic community in Bread and Roses to the Irish rebellion from British rule in last year's Palme d'Or winner at Cannes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
While not his finest hour, 1993's Raining Stones certainly fits within the Loach canon. The film follows an unemployed man living in a poor country estate in Northern England struggling to provide for his family. His daughter's upcoming first communion complicates life significantly. The proud father reluctantly seeks help and advice everywhere but the downward spiral continues. Ultimately, a startling decision is made that nearly destroys everything he holds dear. Loach's economic camera work and naturalistic direction are perfect. The bare-bones approach allows the strong narrative and performances to shine, while plainly showcasing the driving ills underneath. Though a bit heavy-handed at times, Raining Stones is never preachy, instead allowing believable situational humor to liven the dour. Only Stewart Copeland's cheesy, dated synth score gets in the way, a sore thumb that finally gels when Loach raises the tension. (Phil Morehart) Grade: B