Lynne Ramsay's debut feature Ratcatcher is a gritty but often lyrical portrait of a boy growing up on the wrong side of the Scottish tracks. James (William Eadie) is a 12-year-old coming of age in a rough working-class section of Glasgow. Something of a misfit, James has only two close friends, Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen), an older girl whose need to be loved often leads her into ill-advised sexual episodes with the neighborhood boys, and Kenny (John Miller), a half-bright kid who loves animals but isn't sure what went wrong when he tried to send his pet mouse into space. One day, James gets into a fight with another boy near a canal that runs through town. James accidentally knocks the boy into the water and he drowns; James is too scared to tell anyone, but the incident weighs heavily on him, adding further tension to an already strained relationship with his alcoholic father. Lynne Ramsay's previous short films won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, which led to Ratcatcher's being screened in the "Un Certain Regard" series at Cannes in 1999.
by Mark Deming synopsis