Wednesday 26 January 2011


Out now on DVD is this new Irish thriller about one mans quest for vengeance after a brutal attack.

Read my review, next...

Trying to rebuild his life after a brutal and vicious attack that left him a changed man, Paul Graynor (Darren Healy) starts to turn to his dark side and confront the reasons why he didn't fight back. Keen to make sure it never happens again, he starts to hit the gym, take defense classes and soon deliver his own personal brand of justice.

In his job as a photographer, he's spent his life as a mere observer and chronicler of inner city crimes, but now he's become front page news and is forced to deal with the realities of urban life. Paul's former self no longer exists, and he chooses to deal with the physical and emotional scars by himself, shutting out Michelle (Nora Jane Noone), the caring nurse who wants to aide him in his recovery. Paul no longer feels like a member of society, so cuts off the potential romance that was growing with Michelle, despite her continued interest.

Divided into segments that chronicle his often conflicting responses to being emasculated by a pair of young hoodlums, Savage is a dark, brooding and often violent thriller. The transformation of Paul Graynor from a mild mannered yuppie into a shaven headed mad man is achieved with an impressively nuanced approach, and Darren Healy should be commended for his performance. Physically he looks like a completely different person, and his character's mental state noticeably deteriorates as the film progresses.

Taking a leaf out of Taxi Driver and Death Wish's psychopath handbook, Paul decides that vigilante justice is the only solution. The police have failed to track down his attackers, so he hits the streets armed with a knife, looking for a way to release his pent up aggression. The story suffers slightly from having such an isolated key figure, but the film doesn't take its depiction of violence lightly, and is able to disturb you with its realism.

Savage is an interesting and believable tale of what drives a man towards the brink of insanity. It's a study of curbed masculinity, and with its shocking conclusion asks questions about responding to the threat of violence. A standout piece of modern Irish cinema.


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