Writer/director Mackenzie uses the grim backdrop of 1950s Scotland for the richly dark character drama of his second feature. McGregor is Joe, a sexually charged but emotionally and morally devoid transient who finds work, room, and board on a barge owned by Les (Mullan) and his wife Ella (Swinton) who share a loveless marriage. When the body of a young woman washes up and is fished out by the barge-dwellers it sets off various reactions in all three. Joe seduces Ella under the nose of the emotionally repressed Les and a series of flashbacks reveal more about Joe's past and his relationship with Cathie (Mortimer), a young woman who reminds him of the deceased. Moody, noirish and visually engaging with stellar portrayals by all. Based on a novel by Alexander Trocchi.