Glassland is the new film from Gerard Barrett, whose first feature Pilgrim Hill won all sorts of praise. I have to admit that I haven’t yet seen it as cinemas in Northern Ireland are not very good at giving screens over to films from across the border. Glassland should, however, get a bigger release and is certainly worth seeing.
Jack Reynor (better remembered for the great What Richard Did than Transformers 4) plays John, a taxi driver struggling to care for his alcoholic mother Jean (Toni Collette). Exhausted by long hours at work and at home, he convinces her to get help, though help will cost money and will force John to accept shady, criminal work that he may not be able to do.
Glassland is a powerful drama about love and vulnerability and the extremes, or depths, that a person may have to go to help someone they love. John is a nice guy, but he works in human trafficking. We cannot condemn him as the film shows us his reasons, making it a powerful indictment of an indifferent state as well as a deeply moving drama of desperate people. Reynor is fantastic, rarely off screen and almost always in oppressively tight, darkly lit frames, but always deeply expressive.