Irish Film Review: The Delinquent Season

WRI/DIR: Mark O’Rowe • PRO: Ruth Coady, Alan Moloney • DOP: Richard Kendrick • ED: Eoin McGuirk • MUS: Ian Neil • DES: Ray Ball • CAST: Cillian Murphy, Catherine Walker, Eva Birthistle, Andrew Scott

The Delinquent Season, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe, pairs on-screen married life with a heavy dose of reality.  This is not often the case in many films, and so it becomes a believable work that is easy to feel invested in. The everydayness of events which occur between the two central couples amplifies just how little drama is necessary to weaken the loose foundations of the supposed stability of suburban married life with kids.

We are introduced to the two central couples as they are sharing a dinner together, and from this first scenario it is clear that tensions are rising between Yvonne (Catherine Walker) and Chris (Andrew Scott). By contrast Jim (Cillian Murphy) and Danielle (Eva Birthistle) are initially portrayed as having a stronger connection. Whereas the first couple appear to be on the brink of destruction, the second seem to merely be approaching marital dissatisfaction. Essentially, the plot centres on an affair that is struck between Jim and Yvonne. The movie handles what could be described as the trite and typical plot device of an affair consistently well. Only in a couple of moments does it not strike quite right.

This film looks at the highs and lows of an affair from a completely different perspective than audiences are generally accustomed to watching. Typically, when an affair is the central event of a film, the victim rather than the perpetrators gets the most attention. More often than not, it is the hurt experienced by the victim that we focus on. In place, this film examines the human motivations to start an affair and the emotions which follow it.

Through concentrating on Jim and Yvonne’s affair, this movie really calls into question how the structure of monogamy functions in the here and now. Society, on the one hand, has become arguably more accepting. Yet, in terms of monogamy and marriage we still expect clear black and white behavioural norms. On the one hand, we are more liberal and on the other hand we have as many rules as ever. If monogamy is upheld as the societal ideal, then the subject matter of this film – a marital affair – must surely be the antithesis to the framework of society.

What really stands out about this film is the depiction of Jim and Yvonne. Although it is arguable that their affair has sprung as a result of childish reasons – boredom, vanity- what we get to witness is a realistic and emotionally invested affair. Firstly, there is nothing glamorous about this affair. It begins so awkwardly that the embarrassment at making that first bold move really resonates. Occasionally, the romantic statements are a little hard to swallow as they appear to be so out of sync with the expectations that go along with the characters’ personalities and backgrounds. Yvonne initially seems far too prim and self-effacing to ever envision that she could get involved with her friend’s husband. Ultimately, Yvonne is shown as a determined fish out of water, taking on this unlikely situation she finds herself in with as much strength as she can muster. Jim plays the exact opposite of what could be considered to be the typically cheating husband. Jim’s kind and responsible nature clashes with his adulterous actions. The emotional ramifications of the affair seem to take the greatest toll on Jim revealing him as someone who is not only sexually but emotional vested in this affair.

One of the conversations which really underpins the film occurs when Danielle points out how fragile happiness is. The perceptive truth of this statement underlies all that happens in this plot. While monogamy may be seen as the way to a stable and happy life, this kind of life can unravel instantaneously. The real emotions and consequences of the banality of a stifling marriage are clearly portrayed in this film. The often ill-fated results of striking up an affair are illustrated with equal effect. Conclusively this film is a detailed and realistic examination into the outcomes of tampering with monogamy and married life. It acutely highlights the fragile nature of modern relationships through extremely human and engaging characters.

Irene Falvey

15A (See IFCO for details)

103 minutes
The Delinquent Season is released 27th April 2018

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-7DIW0KXCY

 

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Review: In the Heart of the Sea

 

in-the-heart-of-the-sea-chris-hemsworth

DIR: Ron Howard • WRI: Charles Leavitt • PRO: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Joe Roth, Will Ward, Paula Weinstein • DOP: Anthony Dod Mantle • ED: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill • MUS: Roque Baños • CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Benjamin Walker, Ben Whishaw

 

In the Heart of the Sea is a film that longs to be a sweeping epic. Unfortunately, it rarely struggles above ‘meh’ on the emotional reaction scale. Flitting from one narrative arc to another without ever divulging anything important or meaningful to the audience, the film flounders under the weight of its own scale. Even Ron Howard’s skill as a director fails to lend any depth to this shallow puddle of a film.

That said, it’s easy to see why Howard wanted to make this film. Maritime films are a rarity in Hollywood namely due to their enormous production costs (indeed, this film had a budget of 100 million dollars and it looks unlikely that it will be recuperated in the box office). Being in an aquatic environment, however, really allows for a directors creativity to shine through. There are some genuinely fantastic shots throughout the film, particularly the ones that take place underwater. The films biggest drawback by far is its script. The plot follows a frame narrative, wherein author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw), anxious to start the novel that would become the classic Moby Dick, interviews the only surviving member of an infamous whale-hunting expedition, Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson).

Now an aging drunk, Nickerson is at first reluctant to recall the horrors that occurred during the voyage.  Urged on by Melville’s deep (or, at least, slightly deeper) pockets, our story begins to unfold. Having risen from a lowly orphan to a respected seaman, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself as First Mate on the Essex, a whaling ship captained by the rather pompous George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). Under pressure from their sponsoring merchant company to bring home as many barrels of whale oil as possible, the crew sets sail with then 14-year-old Nickerson (Tom Holland) aboard. Things go from bad to worse when, spurred on by over-fishing, the Essex travels into dangerous uncharted waters with the hope of snaring more whales. Once there, however, the ship is capsized by a gigantic white whale and our heroes find themselves adrift in an unforgiving wasteland of salt water.

There are so many elements to the plot- man v nature, fear of the unknown, exploitation of natural resources for profit, facing one’s past, etc.- that no single aspect is ever satisfactorily explored. The audience is never given enough to fully care and, as a result, characters are reduced down to ‘tick-the-box’ personalities.

The gruff-but-good-natured-leader-who-just-wants-to-do-right? Check!

The inexperienced-but-willing-to-learn-youngster-who-looks-upon-said-leader-as-a-mentor? Check!

The snooty-rich-guy-who-used-his-family-name-to-gain-his-position-for-which-he-is-completely-unqualified? Check!

The most interesting character by far is the white whale, who is apparently omniscient, and he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. Also, while the film overall boasts bold visuals, certain wide shots of the ship at sea look hopelessly CGI’d and I’m certain that at one point the tip of a boom mike was visible in frame. With so many balls up in the air it’s unsurprising that the film ultimately falls rather flat. At the very least one can appreciate that a lot of effort went into the making of In the Heart of the Sea, but that alone cannot save it from being a mere drop in the ocean instead of an epic tidal wave.

 

Ellen Murray

12A
121 minutes (See IFCO for details)

In the Heart of the Sea is released 26th December 2015

In the Heart of the Sea – Official Website

 

 

 

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Cinema Review: Broken

DIR: Rufus NorrisWRI: Mark O’Rowe • PRO: Tally Garner, Bill Kenwright, Dixie Linder, Nick Marston   DOP: Rob Hardy   ED: Victoria Boydell  DES: Kave Quinn Cast: Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, Rory Kinnear

 

Family drama piece Broken once again teams Irish screenwriter Mark O’ Rowe up with Cillian Murphy, who previously worked together on Intermission and Perrier’s Bounty. Although some of the humour of these past films is seen in Broken, Mark O’ Rowe’s talents as a drama screenwriter are really brought to the fore through this excellently told heart breaking story.

Broken is the story of a young girl, Skunk, who lives with her father and brother in a North London suburb. Young Skunk’s life changes after she witnesses a violent altercation in the safety of her residential street. This incident is the catalyst in the interlinking stories of three families who are dramatically affected by the repercussions of the event. We are weaved through their stories with O’ Rowe’s beautifully and wittily written script. He allows our sympathies to fall on each and every person in the film, who have all been affected by the different paths their lives have taken.

The performances of Murphy as Skunk’s teacher and her au pair’s boyfriend, Tim Roth as her father and Rory Kinnear as a volatile single father are subtle, real and sympathetic. However, it is the stand out performance of the young Skunk (Eloise Laurence) that grabs us by the heart strings and pulls us in. She gives a natural performance which we rarely see at such a young age and this holds the whole film together; which is impressive considering the other excellent performances seen from her more experienced colleagues.

Broken, which had its Irish premiere on the first night of the recent JDIFF festival, set a very high standard for the excellent run of films shown this year. Overall, the cast, including the other young actors, come together to deliver a thought-provoking and memorable film; where every person in it is in some way broken.

Ailbhe O’ Reilly

15A (see IFCO website for details)

90mins
Broken is released on 8th March 2013

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JDIFF 2013: Preview – Broken

The 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Broken

Thurs, 14 th February
Savoy 1
19.30
90mins

A powerful family drama, Broken is the feature-film debut from award-winning theatre and opera director Rufus Norris and is written by Irish writer Mark O’Rowe (Intermission). The film also features Cillian Murphy among its impressive ensemble cast.

The film stars Tim Roth as a father looking after an 11-year-old daughter (Eloise Laurence) after his wife leaves him. She witnesses a violent attack which changes the way she looks at the world around her.

Broken recently won the top prize at the British independent film awards 2012 and promises to be a worthy festival opener.

Tim Roth, Rufus Norris, writer Mark O’Rowe and producer Dixie Linder will attend the screening.

You can book tickets here

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‘Broken’ nominated for the EuropeanDiscovery 2012 – Prix FIPRESCI

Written by Mark O’Rowe (Intermission) and starring Cillian Murphy, Broken is among the list of nominees for the EUROPEAN DISCOVERY 2012 – Prix FIPRESCI, an award presented annually as part of the European Film Awards to a young and upcoming director for a first full-length feature film.

This year’s nominations were determined by a committee comprised of EFA Board Members Helena Danielsson (Sweden) and Els Vandevorst (the Netherlands), EFA Members Pierre-Henri Deleau (France) and Jacob Neiiendam (Denmark), as well as Alin Tasciyan (Turkey), Paulo Portugal (Portugal), and Mihai Chirilov (Romania) as members of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics.

 Nominated are:
10 TIMER TIL PARADIS (Teddy Bear)
Denmark, 92 min
DIRECTED BY: Mads Matthiesen
WRITTEN BY: Mads Matthiesen & Martin Pieter Zandvliet
PRODUCED BY: Morten Kjems Juhl

BROKEN
UK, 90 min
DIRECTED BY: Rufus Norris
WRITTEN BY: Mark O’Rowe
PRODUCED BY: Dixie Linder, Tally Garner, Nick Marston &
Bill Kenwright

KAUWBOY
The Netherlands, 81 min
DIRECTED BY: Boudewijn Koole
WRITTEN BY: Boudewijn Koole & Jolein Laarman
PRODUCED BY: Jan van der Zanden & Wilant Boekelman

ПОРТРЕТ В СУМЕРКАХ / PORTRET V SUMERKHAK
(Twilight Portrait)
Russia, 105 min
DIRECTED BY: Angelina Nikonova
WRITTEN BY: Angelina Nikonova & Olga Dihovichnaya
PRODUCED BY: Leonid Ogaryov, Angelina Nikonova &
Olga Dihovichnaya

DIE VERMISSTEN (Reported Missing)
Germany, 86 min
DIRECTED BY: Jan Speckenbach
WRITTEN BY: Jan Speckenbach & Melanie Rohde
PRODUCED BY: Anke Hartwig

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Cinema Review: Red Lights

 

DIR: Rodrigo Cortés • WRI: Andrew Steele • PRO: Rodrigo Cortés, Adrián Guerra • DOP: Xavi Giménez • ED: Rodrigo Cortés • DES: Antón Laguna • Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy

In 2010, director Rodrigo Cortes burst into our radar with Buried, an insanely tense and unique thriller which put him firmly on our ‘One To Watch’ list. For his follow up, he’s gathered quite an impressive cast (Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones), as well as doing scripting duties himself, conjuring up an interesting premise.

Weaver is a university lecturer, with Murphy as her assistant. They teach classes about the world of parapsychology, and in their spare time they drive around, demystifying all manner of psychics and haunted houses. De Niro is a world famous psychic who is coming out of a 30-year hiatus, after his most avid disbeliever died of a heart-attack at his last show. Murphy decides De Niro should be next to debunk, but Weaver warns him off, claiming him to be too dangerous a target. And pretty soon some weird and scary things start to happen, things that cannot be explained by science…

This interesting set-up, along with some pretty good performances from all of the leads (including, thankfully, De Niro) makes for a solid first 30 minutes. However, once some of the more outlandish plot pieces begin to fall into the place, the film slowly starts to fall apart. Huge sections of the story are just left dangling in the wind, along with Elizabeth Olsen as Murphy’s girlfriend and Toby Jones as Weaver’s rival lecturer, two excellent actors both completely wasted.

Being touted as this year’s equivalent of The Sixth Sense, this too comes with a ‘twist ending’ which isn’t so much a surprise as it is 100% completely unguessable, as well as destroying pretty much destroying the entire story that had gone before. A significant disappointment.

Rory Cashin

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)

Red Lights is released on 22nd June 2012


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Cinema Review: In Time

pop star

DIR/WRI: Andrew Niccol • PRO: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Andrew Niccol • DOP: Roger Deakins • ED: Zach Staenberg • DES: Alex McDowell • CAST: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde

Writer/director Andrew Niccol has tackled major subjects years before they became prominent in the media’s eye, be it cloning (Gattaca), reality shows (The Truman Show), or digitially created actors (S1m0ne). This time Niccol marries an old idea of everyone dying at the age of 25 (not unlike Logan’s Run) with the issue of imbalanced wealth distribution (which has been a hot topic for the last half decade), which makes this movie already feel, well, old.

In this alternate future, everyone stops aging at 25, and every second after that has to be earned, with your life expectancy viewable on your arm like a stopwatch that shows your constantly dwindling bank balance. Justin Timberlake is making a day-to-day living when a man with over a century on his arm gives him all his time, then promptly kills himself. Soon after, Timberlake’s mother (Olivia Wilde) dies when yet another price time hike empties her clock. This prompts Timberlake to go to where all the rich folk live and find out why some get to live potentially forever, while others are left to drop dead on the street. While there he is accused of murder, and goes on the run with spoilt rich kid Amanda Seyfried.

Due to the ‘Do Not Pass 25’ rule, Niccol is able to fill his cast with some very attractive faces (Timberlake, Seyfried, Wilde, not to mention Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Cillian Murphy), and they all do reasonably well with their roles, but the movie itself is a potentially brilliant 15-minute short stretched out into a mediocre 109-minute feature. Once the universe is established, everything else is just a sci-fi Bonnie & Clyde/Robin Hood mish-mash of chases and robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. So while this is by no means a bad film, it is an epic case of ‘what could have been’.

Rory Cashin

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
In Time is released on 4th November 2011

In Time – Official Website

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Cillian Murphy And Paul Greengrass Announced To Adjudicate At Kerry Film Festival 2011

(Cillian Murphy)

Kerry Film Festival (KFF) which takes place from 29th October to 5th November announces that this year’s panel of adjudicators will comprise a host of celebrated figures from the world of film.  In putting together the adjudication panel, KFF has drawn on the wide-ranging experience of some of the world’s most celebrated film professionals.

 

Cillian Murphy, a native of Cork who most recently appeared alongside Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde and Amanda Seyfried in Andrew Nichol’s IN TIME, and is also noted for his recent performances in INCEPTION and THE DARK KNIGHT, will represent Irish film talent.  He will be joined by eminent animator Norton Virgien of Brown Bag Films, and Australian documentary maker Geoffrey Smith whose work has earned him numerous awards including an Emmy for feature documentary THE ENGLISH SURGEON.  In addition to these prominent figures, multiple Oscar winner Paul Greengrass, director of the hugely successful BOURNE series, will take part in judging this year’s KFF short film competitions.

Commenting on the impressive line-up, Kerry Film Festival Director Sarah Smyth said, ‘We are delighted and honoured to announce that such an illustrious group of adjudicators have agreed to share their wealth of experience with us. They will certainly have their work cut out with the quality and sheer number of entries that we have received this year.’

This year marks the twelfth Kerry Film Festival and the number of entries has continued to increase year on year with over five-hundred films submitted in total.  Winners will be announced for Best Film, Best Irish Short, Best International Short, Best Animation and Best Irish Documentary.  The variety of award categories corresponds directly with the disciplines of the individual adjudicators meaning that young and upcoming film-makers will have their submissions viewed by some of the most successful practitioners in their chosen fields.

Each year KFF also presents a highly popular Children’s Audience Award and the John Moore Audience Award, sponsored by the Irish-born director who is set to helm the fifth in the blockbuster DIE HARD series.

Kerry Film Festival will take place from 29th October to 5th November.  More details are available on www.kerryfilmfestival.com, www.facebook.com/KerryFilmFestival and www.twitter.com/KerryFilmFest.

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