MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Set in England in 1990, RIFF-RAFF centers around a construction crew renovating an old hospital into luxury apartments. To help translate the workers' heavy regional and ethnic English accents, more than half of the movie has American-English subtitles. Stevie (Robert Carlyle), recently emerged from prison for "thievery," hires on with the rowdy crew. Larry Reilly (Ricky Tomlinson) organizes the men to fix up squatter accommodations for Stevie. Stevie meets and falls in love with another tenant, Susan Miles (Emer McCourt), who is behind on her rent. Soon, Susan moves in with Stevie with the hope they will get married. Stevie and Susan have dreams - he wants to open a little store or cart to sell boxer shorts and colored socks, while she dreams of being a singer. Suddenly, Stevie is called away for his mother's funeral and returns to find Susan injecting drugs. Meanwhile, worries escalate about safety on the worksite. Larry suggests unionizing. When he brings his safety concerns to his ruthless, dishonest boss, he is fired. A worker falls off the roof and is critically injured. Stevie and another worker carry out their revenge against the construction company. RIFF-RAFF is well acted and interesting for its portrayal of working-class England, but it falls short in developing good depth of character.

The rough, tough construction team may be deficient in socially acceptable behavior, but they become almost a family, helping each other and sticking together. Unfortunately, their way of righting a wrong is through revenge. Many of the 92 obscenities and 12 profanities are deleted from the subtitles, but they can still be understood in the hackneyed English. Sexual intercourse is implied once in a darkened scene where Susan is shown getting dressed. Near nudity occurs once, when one of the men standing nude in the bathroom with his hardhat covering his front. The workers fight occasionally among themselves without serious injury and the seriously injured worker's fall is neither graphic nor bloody. Very objectionable is a graphic shot of Susan injecting drugs. She also discusses horoscopes and the occult. Irreverence and disrespect are shown during the mother's funeral. The family argues over who will scatter the ashes, and then react disrespectfully when the ashes are blown all over the mourners. The incessant foul language mars this interesting look into British laborers' work ethic, giving RIFF-RAFF a negative acceptability.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Fine Line Features, 888 7th Ave., 20th Floor, NY, NY 10106

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (18) times - 4 mild; 14 moderate

Obscene Language: Many (92) times (f-word 61, s-word 9, other 22)

Profanity: Many (12) times - regular (9); exclamatory (3)

Violence: Several (7) times - moderate (fall off roof, fist fights, dog attack, property destruction)

Sex: Implied once, no nudity (bedroom)

Nudity: Few times (two obscured; man in bathtub covers his front with hardhat)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Reference to intercourse and suggestive remarks at party)

Drugs: Inject drugs once; alcohol drinking 3 times

Other: Horoscope & occult discussed; stealing; irreverent treatment of funeral

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