Competition: Win Cardboard Gangsters on DVD

 

 

 

Following its theatrical run in Irish cinemas, Cardboard Gangsters will be released on DVD in Ireland on October 6th 2017. The DVD release boasts an exclusive documentary ‘Shooting in the Hood: The Making of Cardboard Gangsters’ which will offer viewers an insight into the behind-the-scenes action during the making of the film.

Directed by Mark O’Connor and starring John Connors (‘Love/Hate’, King of the Travellers), Fionn Walton (Out of HereWhat Richard Did) and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, ‘East Enders’) Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.  Jay Connolly (Connors) is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer.  When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

The film was produced for Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production and TV3 and was distributed theatrically by Wildcard Distribution, with the DVD being distributed by Precision Pictures.

We have DVDs to give away to 5 lucky readers. To nab yourself one, simply drop an email to filmireland@gmail.com with Cardboard Gangsters in the subject line before 9th October when the Film Ireland Hat will grab a chainsaw and select 5 winners.

Please include a postal address in your email.

 

 

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‘Cardboard Gangsters’ on DVD

Following its theatrical run in Irish cinemas, Cardboard Gangsters will be released on DVD in Ireland on October 6th.   The DVD release boasts an exclusive documentary ‘Shooting in the Hood: The Making of Cardboard Gangsters’ which will offer viewers an insight into the behind-the-scenes action during the making of the film.

Directed by Mark O’Connor and starring John Connors (‘Love/Hate’, King of the Travellers), Fionn Walton (Out of HereWhat Richard Did) and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, ‘East Enders’) Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.  Jay Connolly (Connors) is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer.  When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

Mark O’Connor commented “After such an incredible reaction from Irish audiences to the film in cinemas, we’re delighted that fans of the film have a chance to catch up with the behind the scenes documentary so they can get a sense of how the project came together.  The entire project has been an unbelievable journey for all involved, and I’m delighted that it will continue to have a life on DVD and beyond.”

The film was produced for Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production and TV3 and was distributed theatrically by Wildcard Distribution, with the DVD being distributed by Precision Pictures.

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Cardboard Gangsters Rocks Box Office

Following its second weekend playing in Irish cinemas, Cardboard Gangsters is now on track to become the biggest Irish film of the year at the Irish box office.  The gritty crime drama grossed €78k at the Republic of Ireland box office from 47 cinemas over the weekend and charted in 3rd position, just behind Hollywood blockbusters Transformers and Wonder Woman.  This was up from 4th position last week.

The film expanded into Northern Ireland cinemas last Friday and the gross box office for the island of Ireland now stands at €192k.  This was a massive increase of over 80% on last weekend’s figures.

Another 10 new cinemas are due to open the film from this Friday 30th June.

Directed by Mark O’Connor and starring John Connors ‘(Love/Hate’, King of the Travellers), Fionn Walton (Out of HereWhat Richard Did) and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, ‘East Enders’) Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.  Jay Connolly (Connors) is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer.  When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

The film was produced for Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production and TV3 and is distributed by Wildcard Distribution.

 

Mark O’Connor, Co-writer & Director of ‘Cardboard Gangsters’

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Irish Film Review: Cardboard Gangsters

DIR: Mark O’Connor • WRI: John Connors, Mark O’Connor •  PRO: Richard Bolger • DOP: Michael Lavelle • ED: Tony Kearns • DES: Padraig O’Neill • MUS: Rael Jones • CAST: John Connors, Kierston Wareing, Paul Alwright

If anything can be understood about Mark O’Connor from his new film, it’s obvious he doesn’t like easy or pleasant characters. Cardboard Gangsters, O’Connor’s fourth feature film to date, returns to familiar grounds for the filmmaker, exploring the oft-neglected and maligned communities in Irish society. Co-written by its star, John Connors (who previously worked in O’Connor’s King of the Travellers), the film’s attention directs itself to the notorious suburbs of Darndale, a north county Dublin estate with a high level of social housing and crime. Despite years of social development, the north side of Dublin still retains fragments of its image as a more precarious and rough area to visit and places, such as Darndale, often receive the brunt of this reputation which, in turn, greatly impacts its residents’ ability to progress in either education or employment.

All of this is addressed in Cardboard Gangsters with a refreshing sense of frankness. At times, it can come from a sardonic gag where takeaways refuse to deliver food to the residency, or from the small discussion of a mother trying to persuade her son to go to college. While it may follow the plot of four young men who try getting by through selling drugs, Darndale is very much the centre of its story. Jay Connolly (Connors), a 24-year-old D.J., lives with his mother, who struggles from day-to-day to make payments and keep their house. With his highly unpredictable friend, Dano (Fionn Walton; What Richard Did), Jay moves from nightclub narcotics, like cocaine and ecstasy, into the even more dangerous substance heroine. This attracts the attention of local kingpin, Derra Murphy (Jimmy Smallhorne), who threatens Jay and Dano to stop competing in his territory or face the consequences. But the glorified lifestyle of money, drugs, and sex, goad Jay and Dano into challenging Derra and whatever violence may come from their actions.

Having performed well to the audience at the Galway Film Fleadh last year, a contributor to Film Ireland aptly described the film as similar to the classic hood movies such as Menace II Society and Boyz in the Hood. The simultaneous and skilful balancing between exploring and appreciating the community of Darndale helps Cardboard Gangsters remain remarkably on the level of its subject matter. It neither looks down upon nor looks up to its characters and their lifestyle, but demonstrates a clear understanding of what motivates people into choosing a criminal path. None of its characters are likable and are often repugnant, but their sense of vulnerability and confusion makes them relatable. It’s hard to imagine another gangster film which features its tough guy breaking down with tears and into the arms of his mother.

For all the aspects Cardboard Gangsters gets right in its authenticity, there are a number of issues which inhibit the overall experience from being a genuinely great film. While audio and continuity hiccups can be forgiven as insignificant, the genericity of its plot is unavoidable. With little variation or subversion, it follows the rise and fall of your typical gangster film. Worryingly for 2017, the film is far too casually misogynistic where all of its women are divisible into two categories – mothers and “session moths.” While the film gives moments to its men in exposing their hypermasculinity as a thin veil, no opportunity arises for any of its heroines. Their big emotional moments are reduced to comic absurdity as one shouts on the street to another “you’re after riding me fella!”

It’s a detriment to the film’s finer moments of community and understanding. Cardboard Gangsters sets itself apart in the gangster genre by its more nuanced and intense performances from all actors involved. Fionn Walton definitely has the juiciest role and perfectly handles being dangerously capricious and way over his head simultaneously, but John Connors holds a more charismatic and intimidating presence on screen. Connors, most famously from RTE’s Love/Hate, showcases a tremendous ability to use his size and his voice to be imposing and ominous but with slight cracks to expose the inexperienced young man just below the surface. The film will certainly draw in crowds who find themselves longing for more Irish gangster dramas and, for those people, Cardboard Gangsters offers plenty of what they’ve come to love about the genre.

Michael O’Sullivan

91 minutes
18 (See IFCO for details)

Cardboard Gangsters is released 16th June 2017

Cardboard Gangsters – Official Website

 

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Trailer: Cardboard Gangsters

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The official trailer for Mark O’Connor’s gritty Dublin gangland feature Cardboard Gangsters has been released.

The film is now set for an Irish release on Friday, 16th June.

Cardboard Gangsters, which stars John Connors (King of the Travellers, Love/Hate), Fionn Walton (Out of Here, What Richard Did), and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, Eastenders) follows a group of wannabe gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.

 

Jay Connolly (Connors) is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer.  When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

 

Wowing festival audiences around the globe, the film picked up three awards at Manchester Film Festival (Best Actor, Best Feature Film and Film of the Festival) earlier this year and was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California last week where it was described as having “the feverish temperament of a Guy Ritchie picture, the ghetto angst of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, and the realism of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh’s finest films. Unflinching, sadistic, and unabashedly realistic.”

 

The film was directed by Mark O’Connor who co-wrote the screenplay with John Connors.  It was produced for Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production and TV3.

 

Cardboard Gangsters will be released in Irish cinemas on the 16th June by Wildcard Distribution.

 

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Cardboard Gangsters’ Wins @ Manchester International Film Festival

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Cardboard Gangsters by Mark O’Connor has won three awards at Manchester International Film Festival, Best Actor for John Connors, Best Feature Film and Film of the Festival. It also received special jury mentions for Original Screenplay, Directing and Cinematography.

Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe cardboard gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, Dublin, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex. Jay Connolly is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer in North Dublin, an area victimised by gangs, drugs and social problems. When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

Starring John Connors (King of the Travellers, Love/Hate), Fionn Walton (Out of Here, What Richard Did), and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, Eastenders) and directed by Mark O’Connor and produced by Richard Bolger, the screenplay was co-written by Mark O’Connor and John Connors.

Cardboard Gangsters will be released in Irish cinemas on 5th May by Wildcard Distribution.

Cardboard Gangsters was produced for Five Knight Films and Stalker Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Egg Post Production and TV3.

 

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Review of Irish Film @ Cork Film Festival: Cardboard Gangsters

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Annie Curran checks out Cardboard Gangsters, which screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.

“Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret” reads the wall of the gym where Jason Connolly, protagonist of Cardboard Gangsters, aggressively hits a punching bag. This mantra ultimately proves to be the lesson that Jason and his friends learn as they find themselves more and more entangled in the initially alluring world of the Darndale drug trade.

Actor John Connors, who co-wrote the dramatic crime film with director Mark O’Connor, stars as Jason. The film was largely inspired by Connors’ own experience growing up in the neighborhood, which is situated on the Northside of Dublin and is a hotbed of cyclical social problems. During a post-screening Q&A at the Cork Film Festival, O’Connor stated that since the Cardboard Gangsters are a product of their environment, their goal as filmmakers was to show the “humanity of these characters.”

Jason and his group of three childhood friends are involved in small-time drug dealing. But as economic pressures mount, Jason concedes to his friend Dano’s wishes to begin selling “brown,” even though their neighborhood has been the authoritative and tyrannical Derra Murphy’s terrain for their entire lives. As to be expected, Derra does not take kindly to the newfound business competition.

From loansharking to unplanned pregnancy, Cardboard Gangsters expertly details the variety of social problems that Darndale residents face. In one heated exchange, Jason’s friend Cobbie is called a “Nigerian,” to which he has to defend himself as “Irish bred and born,” thus highlighting the racism that remains embedded with certain facets of Irish society. These social problems do not feel heavy-handed or clichéd, which is owed to Connors and O’Connor’s authenticity of experience.

Connors gives a masterful performance as Jason, who initially does not want to take over Derra’s territory. During an early scene where Jason attempts to pick up a welfare check, his face is framed next to an advert for a “Low-Self Esteem Clinic.” This framing tells the audience everything they need to know about the problematic masculinity that is created out of the limited options in Darndale. Jason’s check is refused because he has been DJ-ing as a hobby, thus implying that his attempts to better himself through healthy choices can’t even pull him out of the cycle of crime.

Perhaps the film’s finest cinematographic achievements are the sprawling one-take tracking shots. Producer Richard Bolger joked at the Q&A about the logistical stress of shooting one scene in particular, where Jason terrorizes a man with a chainsaw. While the scene might have been an insurer’s nightmare, the results are equally terrifying and electrifying. The filmmakers frequently use the frame to emphasize how the men get trapped into a world of crime, including shots where they walk behind fences that look like jail cells and are silhouetted by smoking piles of trash.

In an effort to present every day life in Darndale, the film contains a fair amount of scenes that don’t necessarily drive the plot. This is best exhibited in the music videoesque sequences that show the characters hanging out, selling, and simply living their lives. The hip-hop and rock influenced soundtrack is made up of all-Irish musicians and mostly local Darndale musicians. The filmmakers felt it was imperative to get the music right in order to capture Darndale’s local culture. As such, one of their inspirations was the 2015 biographical film Straight Outta Compton, which details the early lives of hip-hop group N.W.A.

Cardboard Gangsters truly shows the psychological effects of not suffering the pain of discipline. The scene where Jason breaks down into his mother’s arms is one of the most poignant moments I’ve seen in recent cinema. Jason gives into his vulnerability and the results are gut-wrenching and powerful. O’Connor told the audience at Cork Film Festival that is was very important to Connors that the film showed at-risk youth that dealing drugs will never end well.

To do this more effectively, the film highlights the suffering of all of the characters, even Derra. During a tracking shot of a robbery of the liquor store, the camera zooms in on the panicked face of an alarmed employee, before focusing back on the action. This moment painfully reminds the audience that the whole community is victimized by these crimes. But additionally and most importantly, the film shows how Jason, his friends, and Derra are victimized by their own crimes, which leads to the conclusion’s violent trail of revenge. The idiom an “eye for an eye” has never rang more true.

 

Cardboard Gangsters screened on 20th November 2016 as part of the Cork Film Festival 2016 (11 – 20 November)

 

Cardboard Gangsters is set to open in cinemas across Ireland in February 2017.

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