Socially conscious British auteur Ken Loach divides his time between familiar hardscrabble territory and a breezier narrative landscape in “The Angels’ Share,” a hybrid charming enough to satisfy even the trenchant-commentary crowd.
Loach (“Riff-Raff”) again teams with writer Paul Laverty (“My Name Is Joe”), this time for the story of Glasgow have-nots who make an unlikely bid for “have” status by plotting a Scotch whiskey distillery heist. But that’s the fanciful bit. First, we spend a fairly somber stretch with Robbie (naturalistic newcomer Paul Brannigan), a 20-something hooligan yearning to reform for the sake of his girlfriend (Siobhan Reilly) and their new baby. If only he could find a way. Robbie tries to avoid rival thugs, and they come after him. He shows up at the hospital to see the baby, and gets brutalized by his girlfriend’s gangster dad and his crew. He’s barely permitted somewhere like a maternity ward anyway, never mind a potential workplace, thanks to the telltale brawler’s scar on his face.