Friday, April 23, 2010


Thumbs up! An excellent guns and gangsters road movie of a ride, with Irish accents. It's a wonky comparison, I know, but it felt to me like an episode of SPACED riffing on gangster thrillers. Also, a kind of AFTER HOURS, only bloodier and on fast forward.

Did what I just wrote make any kind of sense...? Yeah, this is gonna be an even more muddled ramble than usual as I'm a bit overtired from tonight's double feature (BOUNTY followed by SECRETS OF THE TRIBE).
Stars Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson. Cillian's Michael McCrea is into Dublin gangster Darren Perrier (Gleeson) for a decent chunk of green (two broken bones' worth, according to his enforcers). Of course, he doesn't have it, and highly motivated by the preservation of his skeleton, he spends the day trying to acquire it. Unfortunately, his estranged father picks this very same day to pay him a visit, revealing that he is dying and proving to be insistent on mending fences and making up for lost time. The quality time they spend involves attempts to get the money from a loan shark, and then from a bit of B&E, which leads to some blackmail, but not before a bit of violence that requires the disposal of a body and a car that belongs to his cute sweetheart of a neighbor, Brenda. Alas, none of this quite leads to successful payment of his debt. In fact, that bit of violence instead prompts Perrier to put a bounty on the heads of McCrea and his unwitting accomplices. Wacky fun ensues.

I really enjoy the way the three characters, each in differently dire straits, build their relationships by caroming off of each other while on the run from Perrier's henchmen. Da McCrea reveals how Michael shut his parents out after a terrible event some years ago. He also does what he can to deflect Michael's tough love approach to Brenda when she can't stop thinking about her useless dog of an ex. And Brenda and Michael have two different takes on his father's imminent appointment with Death.

In spite of being a striking stick figure of a fellow a little overly familiar with the seedier side of his part of Dublin, McCrea is a stand-up guy who takes a beating and keeps on ticking. Broadbent is spry and steady as the elder McCrea, wired and under the influence of several kinds of stimulation, not the least being adrenaline, wonderfully adept at going with the criminal and unlikely flow as he helps get his wayward son in and out of deadly jams all day, all the while working on him to agree to accompany him to visit and reconcile with his mother. Jodie Whittaker's Brenda has got her neurotic boy troubles, but reveals she's no simple damsel in distress, saving Michael's skinny ass more than once.

SPOILERy comments follow...

I didn't love the v.o. narration at times, but I was satisfied with the "reveal" of the speaker at the end of the film.

The music was supercool. David Holmes coolness.

Broadbent's elder McCrea is a joy to watch. The premise for his condition and the resulting behavior, particularly his fluid reactions to perilous and idyllic environments, are so very clever, fun, and satisfying. You know who he is, as unlikely as he is, right away. When he stays up all night on the mountainside, lights below, stars above, I knew exactly what his condition was. Altho his description of how he learned of his imminent death was wonderfully unexpected, "obscure and enigmatic, because that's me way, man." Frickin cool.

Perrier's eccentric stance on gays in his employ makes for some grand dramatic declarations.

The running gag/influence of Dublin's parking authority is well applied.

Jodie Whitakker is really cute. McCrea's first/last kiss and his confession, "I loved every minute," was pretty cool.

That's all I've got. Gotta crash.

Thanks to JD for spotting me during BOUNTY, and RF & co for the lively post-show discussion of TRIBE.

Keep on keepin on~

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