August 10, 2003|An indisputable sign of my provincialism, ten minutes into my conversation with Scottish actor-filmmaker Peter Mullan and I was still thinking to myself how awesome his rolling brogue is--I've never been more tempted to ape Irvine Welsh. But there's more to Mullan than an accent raised on Guinness, cigarettes, haggis, and golf: the man, a former schoolteacher and favourite of director Ken Loach, is an amazingly erudite and charismatic cultural observer, expounding at length about film craft, racism, even poetry. (It's not often one can talk at length about Samuel Coleridge with anyone, and if Mullan's next project is a biopic of the scribe, I'll be the first in line--and wanting an acknowledgment for the casting suggestion of Timothy Spall.) An unlikely lightning rod for one of the most controversial films of the year, Mullan is quick with a smile and an indecipherable regional profanity, spry the morning after an extended Q&A session following a late invitational screening of his The Magdalene Sisters and duly impressed by Denver's exceptional selection of quality microbrews. The man knows his beer, I'll give him that, and while his film isn't without its imperfections, Mullan seems to know his capacity for outrage as well; let's not kid ourselves: that quality of passion in any filmmaker, in any age, is certainly not strained.