The 1980s was undoubtedly one of the greatest periods for Scottish cinema. Thanks largely to the genius of Bill Forsyth, who was responsible for Gregory’s Girl, Comfort & Joy, Housekeeping and Local Hero, much of the best British cinema during the decade came from north of the border. There was a youthful naivety and fresh-faced wonder in much of the output. Restless Natives embodies the underdog charm and sly political commentary which personified many of the films from the era.
Ronnie (Joe Mullaney) works in a joke shop. Will (Vincent Friell) isn’t cut-out for a number of increasingly shorter and shorter-lived jobs. The two friends are sick and tired of the urban ennui of being poor in mid-1980s Edinburgh. It gets so bad that in a fit of desperation they decide to become modern highwaymen. Wearing a clown and wolf mask respectively, they head to the north on a motorcycle and begin robbing tourist buses transporting passengers around the highlands.
Restless Natives is an old school ripping yarn which takes a couple of losers and makes something a little special. Michael Hoffman’s film is obviously a bit daft, but that’s what makes it so enchanting. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see Ned Beatty in a dress? This quiet bonhomie makes its message all the more powerful when it does have something serious to say. Restless Natives takes the high road and weaves a tale full of good humour and high jinks.
- Audio commentary with Director Michael Hoffman, writer Ninian Dunnett and Producer Andy Patterson
- A Restless Retrospective: Creating A Caledonian Classic feature
- Soundtrack for A Not-so-big-country: The Music of Restless Natives feature
- Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery
Restless Natives is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Studiocanal Vintage Classics on 1 March.