Ailbhe O’ Reilly trades blows with Traders, which screened at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
Since the recession hit the world with a bang in 2008 there have been a few economic themed films – The Company Men tried the drama angle, Up in the Air tried the comedy angle and there have also been numerous documentaries.
Traders is the first Irish film I have seen that tackles the subject matter with a dark comedy edge tinged with graphic violence. Traders focuses on two very different lead characters – Vernon Styles (Game of Thrones’ John Bradley) and Harry Fox (Love/Hate’s Killian Scott), who are both left desperate after the company they work for goes under. After their boss takes his own life to escape his financial problems Vernon comes up with a very unique business idea which is the basis for the movie.
The idea is that people down on their luck arrange a secluded place to fight it out to the death with the winner walking away with the life savings of the other person. This is trading and the aim of the game is to keep arranging fights until you have enough money or die trying.
At first glance, Traders may not appeal to everyone – the violence can be quite graphic at times and the plot of ordinary people fighting like backyard brawlers in recessionary Ireland felt too far removed from reality. However, the fast moving and hilarious script keeps our interest and Killian Scott delivers as a captivating leading man. Traders really is Scott’s film, he is in nearly every scene and keeps our attention throughout. He is joined on screen by at least half the Love/Hate cast, which was distracting at times, but does display the many up-and-coming Irish actors around at the moment.
John Bradley is entertaining in his role, but doesn’t stray too far from the role many are familiar with in Game of Thrones. Overall, the directing pair of Rachel Moriarty and Peter Murphy do an excellent job with a daring and unique film that keeps the audience guessing throughout and even manages to surprise with the ending.
Traders screened on Saturday, 11th July as part of the Galway Film Fleadh (7 – 12 July 2015)