This film comes with a lot of pedigree. Presumably coming off the back of the success of 2008 masterpiece ‘In Bruges’, with the director of ‘A Film With Me In It’ and the writer of ‘Intermission’ and starring Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Cillian Murphy and Liam Cunningham, how could it be bad? Well…it isn’t. OK, it isn’t going to give the Irish film industry the kick up the backside that it needs, but it is a very funny 88 minutes and entertaining to beat the band.
You are alerted to the film’s tone from the off, with a bouncy and colourful opening credit sequences and an introduction by a fun, cynical and annoyingly recognisable narrator. The story is that of a fairly conventional comedy thriller with a heavy dose of seedy locations and even seedier characters. Cillian Murphy’s Michael owes local gangster Perrier (the ever dependable Gleeson) money and has no way of getting it. Things get worse and worse until Michael is forced into hiding, taking suicidal neighbour Brenda (Jodie Whittaker of Venus fame) and dying estranged father (Broadbent) along with him. Perrier puts a bounty on their heads and the hunt is on. It may sound like something you’ve seen before, but the film’s humour raises it to a much higher level, allowing for some brilliantly unexpected little scenes, such as when Gleeson consoles a grieving henchman and when two wheel-clampers get in over their heads.
The fun script is full of seedy characters spouting philosophical nonsense and tracts about non-existent codes of honour and even the Grim Reaper has a part to play. The characters are all very likable in the vein of Intermission’s multiple characters. Not one of them is innocent but fun performances and good scripting allow you to forget that. What’s great about the film is that it never gets too serious in an effort to be more than just a punchy comedy chase movie. Alongside the laughs, thrills and plentiful spills the film is a pseudo-profound mediation on something or other, which gives it a very enjoyable tongue in cheek feel but isn’t tackled seriously. Art this is not, and the film knows it. As the all-knowing narrator says, “Anyway…bit of craic, no?”