A Sense of Freedom

  • John MacKenzie /
  • UK /
  • 1979 /
  • 81 mins

David Anderson, Bill Armour, Bill Barclay, Martin Black, Jim Boyce, Monica Brady, David Hayman / Fiction / English

The story of Jimmy Boyle, Scotland’s most notorious criminal.

Made for Scottish Television and theatrically released by ex-Beatle George Harrison’s Handmade Films, A Sense of Freedom – based on the autobiography of the same name – tells the turbulent story of Scotland’s most notorious criminal, Jimmy Boyle (David Hayman). Once seen, never forgotten, this brutal film vividly depicts Boyle’s vicious life as a gangster on the streets of Glasgow, and subsequent nightmarish journey through the prison system. Hayman is magnificent in the central role – his initially calm, chilling exterior slowly dissolving into uncontrollable rage and despair, as his liberty and dignity are stripped away. Painfully true to the grim subject matter, McDougall’s stark script is a tormented primal scream, the echo of which Mackenzie – just prior to making The Long Good Friday – skilfully ensures will resonate indefinitely. Also featuring an evocative score by Rory Gallagher, and memorable cameo appearances from Fulton Mackay (Local Hero) and Alex Norton (Braveheart), McDougall and Mackenzie’s final collaboration is a violent, harrowing masterpiece of Scottish cinema that easily ranks alongside the finest British thrillers of the 1970s and 80s.

2009 Archive

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