FAMILY FIRST: Rory’s Way explores an old man’s reunion with his estranged son’s family.

Rory’s Way

  • Drama; Cert M, contains offensive language and sexual references; 1hr 47 mins
  • Starring: Brian Cox, Thora Birch, Rosanna Arquette, Tim Matheson, JJ Feild, Peter Coyote, Treat Williams, Josh Stamberg
  • Directors: Oded Binnumn and Mihal Brezis

RORY is a cantankerous old Outer Hebrides islander whose family feud with the last remnant of the Campbell clan is all that gives him joy.

So, when he decides to leave his remote oceanside croft to visit his estranged son in the bright lights of San Francisco, we suspect something is amiss.

With his wife long-dead, Rory (Brian Cox-Churchill) has become a hermit – incapable of making connections with others and too bloody-minded to ask anyone for the help he so clearly needs. His son (JJ Field – Captain America: The First Avenger) and daughter-in-law (Thora Birch – The Competition), under the impression he is there to acquaint himself with his infant grandson, are totally unaware of the cancer ravaging his body.

Partly a fish-out-of-water film, we see Rory deal with life in the modern world. Unimpressed with his daughter’s cotton wool parenting, Rory decides it falls upon him to raise his grandson to be a manly Hebridean.

Though clichéd, Cox plays a heavily nuanced character. Portrayed as cold and distant, Rory seems incapable of expressing affection with anyone but his young grandson, whom he decided he will take back with him to the Hebrides Islands once he is cured.

With five credited writers and two directors, the otherwise simple script brings nothing poignant because the statements it tries to make lack gravitas.

Clearly a vehicle for Cox, the supporting cast is little more than window dressing. Even heavy hitter Rosanna Arquette is barely able to show her chops with this one-note script.

But as a character study, the film manages to walk a fine line between dismissing Rory for his sexist, Victorian values while emphasizing his one saving grace – the infamous Scottish vacuum of charm.