DIR/WRI: Jamie Thraves • PRO: Rob Small, Jamie Thraves • DOP: Catherine Derry, Nigel Kinnings • ED: Ross Hallard, Tom Lindsay • CAST: Aidan Gillen, Tom Fisher, Riann Steele
Treacle Jr is director Jamie Thraves’ third feature – a tightly-scripted slice of urban survival. The film opens with Tom (Tom Fisher), an anonymous man seemingly escaping a settled past that weighs heavy upon him. For whatever reasons, he has decided to turn his back on life and finds himself wandering homeless in London. The over exuberant Aidan (Aidan Gillen) enters his life offering him the top bunk in his flat which is for rent. Aidan’s ‘girlfriend’ Linda (Riann Steele) proves to be an explosive ingredient in the mix and the dysfunctional threesome become four with the introduction of ‘Treacle Jr’, a kitten Aidan adopts.
Treacle Jr is a story about how people deal with the lives they are given and how physical escape is often not the ideal option but rather that a certain freedom can be attained by escapism and transcending one’s surroundings and, in Aidan’s case, finding a ‘heaven’ that Tom doesn’t believe in.
The three performances are exemplary: Steele’s street-wise aggressive girlfriend is startlingly fiercesome, while Fisher’s marvellously understated portrayal provides the perfect foil for Gillen’s controlled mania that never tips over into slapstick achieving a perfect level of empathy winning over the viewer’s sympathy and admiration. His infectious optimism in the face of abuse and rejection makes for a moving black comedy that, while unsettling at times, is an uplifting story with a human heart.
For certain Irish audiences, the inspiration for Gilen’s Aidan is obviously Dublin’s own Aidan Walshe, self-confessed Master of the Universe and eccentric music mogul. It’s not a film about his life but rather a character that is inspired by him. Thraves himself has said that ultimately it was Walshe’s optimism that inspired the film.
Treacle Jr is released on 26th August 2011