Monday 16 August 2010


Also out on DVD and Blu-Ray today is this Irish Gangster film starring Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy.
There's the trailer and more details after the jump...

Set in Dublin, Cillian Murphy stars as Michael McCrea, a dropout who owes some bad debts to Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson), a local gangster. When he sends a couple of his men around to collect on his debts, Michael's slightly suicidal neighbour (Jodie Whittaker) shoots one of them dead. The body is easily disposed of, but the debt and the tag along neighbour, not so simple. Michael must earn some money quickly to pay off Perrier, and added to this, Michael's dying father (Jim Broadbent) has just turned up after a supposed visit from the Grim Reaper. If he falls asleep he's a goner, so finds increasingly harder narcotic consuming ways to keep himself awake.

Unfortunately, this film is loaded with the kind of inept comedy gangsters that we've seen a dozen times before. They bicker and pratfall and try to look threatening. There's far too many of them as well, considering the title character is under served. Despite being a major part of the advertising campaign, Brendan Gleeson's title character doesn't really show up for the first two thirds of the film. It's hard to feel the threat when you don't know who it's coming from. Gleeson seems to be having a lot of fun playing an outright bastard, and it would have been to the benefit of the film and the story if he'd have featured more.

There's way too much faffing about when they could be getting on with the story. All anyone seems to do is run around pointing guns at one another, and after a while I just stopped caring about who they were running from. This seedy underbelly is inhabited with ever more so bumbling henchmen, and none of them seem capable of catching up with Michael and co. At least when Brendan Gleeson finally turns up, he doesn't have a problem with shooting people. It's a shame his character wasn't allowed to cut some of the dead weight from the script.

This is from Mark O'Rowe, the same writer as Intermission and the screenplay of Boy A. I didn't mind Intermission, although I wished it capitalised more on what it set up. It could have been an Irish Shameless, but it fell short. I was a big fan of Boy A, and that, along with the strong cast, is what mostly attracted me to this film. Watching this film, I couldn't help but wish for something similar to In Bruges, another tale of Irish gangsters but a thousand times more entertaining. Gleeson played a much more sympathetic role in that film, and it's interesting to see he could have played Ralph Fiennes psychotic Harry Waters if he'd have wanted to.

Perrier's Bounty's highlight is undoubtedly Jim Broadbent's drunk, coked up father. Convinced today is going to be his last, he decides to go out with a bang. Broadbent may have a slightly wandering Irish accent, but he's consistently entertaining in his efforts to stave off sleep. Downing a jar of Nescafe coffee granules is certainly a new way to stimulate yourself. Cillian Murphy is fine in his lead role, but I always find him to be better at playing slightly shifty supporting characters. It's something about those eyes...

The film is gaining some infamy for having an awful, nonsensical title. Okay, so I suppose there is a literal meaning to it, but really, anything would have been better than what they ended up with. Perrier's Bounty doesn't express the tone or the subject matter the film has at all. I don't think it's seen a US release yet, but I'd imagine they'd change the title given the chance.

The script lets the talented cast down in places, with the formulaic relationship between Michael and his neighbour Brenda being an obvious let down. It's a shame the story doesn't hold up, because there's an extremely talented cast here. It's not offensively bad, but there's not a lot we haven't seen before.

Not as darkly amusing as Intermission and not anywhere near as funny as In Bruges, this was still an mildly entertaining if unnecessary slice of Irish cinema.


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