DIR/WRI: Gerard Barrett • PRO: Juliette Bonass, Ed Guiney  • DOP: Piers McGrail • ED: Nathan Nugent • DES: Stephanie Clerkin  • Cast: Will Poulter, Toni Collette, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley, Harry Nagle

Sometimes a movie will come on the receiving end of the positive side of a double standard by film critics and audiences alike. Gerard Barrett’s first movie Pilgrim Hill was granted some of those respites, with defenders often claiming, “Look what he managed to do with such a small budget?” or “Can you imagine he was only 26 when that movie came out?” Lovers and haters alike now have Barrett’s follow-up in their sights, as he folds in an all-star cast and an accompanying healthy budget. Thankfully, Barrett the director rises to the challenge, even if Barrett the screenwriter sometimes leaves us short-changed.

Try to avoid the movie’s IMDb page, or any kind of synopsis if you can, as the official version of the movie’s plot tells a slightly different story to the one you’ll actually sit down to watch. All we’ll say is that Shane (Jack Reynor) is a young Dublin based taxi driver, attempting to deal with his alcoholic mother (Toni Colette) and a best-friend (Will Poulter) whose impending departure to Australia will see Shane’s last connection to a somewhat normal life being cut away. There are later developments including an addiction specialist (Michael Smiley) and a third-act plot-intrusion which threatens to derail all the subtle work done up until then, but for the most part it’s a quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) two hander between Reynor and Colette, or Reynor and Poulter.

Much like Pilgrim Hill, Barrett loves leaving the camera on each scene just a little bit too long, and more often than not it works in his favour, resulting in a level of honest uncomfortableness from each of the actors when they’re not faced with an easy “Cut!” This same patience can sometimes result in scenes that drag on for far too long, especially one which seems to focus on a closed door for almost ten seconds after everyone else has left the scene, and even at a scant 93 minutes, some judicious editing would’ve shaved at least ten minutes away.

Getting some amazing performances from his cast – one car-based breakdown from Reynor in particular will remind those blinded by Trans4mers that he’s actually a talented actor – and presenting Dublin neither as a glittering metropolis nor a drug-infused sink-hole, but actually as it really is, Barrett has already made a huge jump in quality from his last outing. We can’t wait to see what he accomplishes with feature number three Brain On Fire, as we’re sure Barrett the director will continue to go from strength to strength. Here’s hoping Barrett the screenwriter doesn’t remain too far behind.

Rory Cashin

15A (See IFCO for details)
92 minutes

Glassland is released 17th April 2015

Glassland – Official Website


Jack Reynor Awarded Special Jury Prize at Sundance


Jack  Reynor  was awarded a special Jury Prize  at the closing ceremony for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City for his performance in Gerard Barrett’s Glassland.

Speaking on the award Reynor commented ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to have been considered and to have won a prize at Sundance this year. It’s definitely a reflection of the work of everybody who was part of the film and I’m incredibly proud to have worked with all of them.’


Glassland is written and directed by Gerard Barrett and produced by Ed Guiney and Juliette Bonass for Element Pictures in association with Barrett’s Nine Entertainment. The film is financed by the Irish Film Board and Element Pictures Distribution who will release the film in the UK and Ireland. Executive producers are Andrew Lowe and Gerard Barrett.
Irish audiences will have the chance to see Glassland  when it goes on nationwide release on April 17th, 2015.

On the Reel at the Transformers Red Carpet

Transformers premiere

This week sees the release of the latest in Michael Bay’s explosive big budget franchise, and this time Ireland’s own Jack Reynor is along for the ride. On the Reel caught up with Jack at the Dublin Premiere of Transformers: Age of Extinction where he talked about Michael Bay, visual FX and slagging Mark Wahlberg.

There was also an appearance from a very special guest who spilt the beans about working with Jack, Michael and his plans for world domination. Check out the video below, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe.


Transformers: Age of Extinction


DIR: Michael Bay  WRI: Ehren Kruger PRO: Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy  DOP: Amir Mokri  ED: Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell   DES: Jeffrey Beecroft  MUS: Steve Jablonsky  CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor


There are many words one might use when describing Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, but very few that don’t sound smug, hackneyed and, on the whole, just too easy. Ever the critics’ whipping boy, the past decade has established the director’s name as a byword for blockbusters that bring the sound and the fury and not a whole lot else, and aiming the same barbs at the same flaws time and again begins to feel less like reviewing than it does adding one more reedy voice to a self-satisfied critical chorus falling on utterly deaf ears.


So with Bay’s claim that his latest outing, Age of Extinction, will set the franchise in a whole new direction, what’s the verdict? Well, for a series based on creatures capable of taking on literally any form they desire, not a whole lot has changed.


Leading the new human cast that will form the centre of this allegedly new direction is Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg), a broke mechanic-turned-inventor with the fiercely independent streak of any good Texan. Hoping his latest junkyard haul yields something that might put his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) through college, Yaeger’s derelict find instead turns out to be a badly-wounded Optimus Prime in hiding. With government forces and a mysterious alien mercenary hunting all Transformers in the wake of the Battle of Chicago, Yaeger is forced to round up what remains of the Autobots so that they might defend humanity one last time.


Age of Extinction marks the (large-scale) Hollywood debut of Ireland’s own Jack Reynor, but sadly this is where any sense of Bay’s promised new beginnings ends. Though presumably placed to add a more family-centric dynamic to the series, the human cast are once again pushed to the fringe so that Bay’s penchant for pyrotechnics can take centre stage for a cornea-melting two and a half hours.


The Transformers themselves live up to the diversity implied by their name in providing a dazzling array of stereotypes, complete with a haiku-spouting samurai and cigar-chomping marine, each of whom speak in a series of B-movie one-liners presumably designed to match Hasbro’s inevitable range of actions figures.


The human cast fare little better, their few efforts to inject a heartbeat into the narrative constantly mangled by scarcely-comprehensible action scenes. It’s as if every frame of the film is specifically designed to shatter any sense of immersion, from the sense of scale (occasionally punctuated by close-ups reserved solely for arse-cheeks or the American flag) to the cluttered, jarring soundtrack, less akin to the Zimmer’s best work than it is to a string-quartet squeezed into a steel-bin.


There is much more that could be said, some of it even positive – both Tucci and Reynor deliver the laughs as the comic relief, and some of the women even get to speak outside of cries for help – but all in all there’s little point in adding to the barrage and even less point in denying the box office landslide to come. Far be it from Film Ireland to kick a multi-billion dollar behemoth when it’s down, after all.


More mechanized popcorn for the senses, worth seeing for those ardent franchise fans and anyone still doubting whether a vacuum can be very loud indeed.

Ruairí Moore

12A (See IFCO for details)
164 mins

Transformers: Age of Extinction is released on 5th July 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction– Official Website


‘Glassland’ Principal Photography Due to Start


Element Pictures have announced that Glassland, Gerard Barrett’s second feature film after last year’s award-winning debut Pilgrim Hill shoots on 8th January in Dublin. The cast includes Irish actor Jack Reynor, award-winning actress Toni Collette, rising British star Will Poulter and Michael Smiley.


Set in Dublin Glassland tells the story of a young taxi driver (Reynor) who gets tangled up in the world of human trafficking while trying to save his mother (Collette) from addiction.


Glassland is written and directed by Barrett and produced by Ed Guiney and Juliette Bonass  for Element Pictures in association with Nine Entertainment. The film is financed by the Irish Film Board and Element Pictures Distribution who will handle the film in the UK and Ireland. Executive producer is Andrew Lowe.


Gerard Barrett said that he feels “incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to work with this fine group of international actors on Glassland. I look forward to collaborating with them all individually in bringing our story to life on the screen.”




Irish Feature in The London Film Festival’s Rising Stars top 10 list

This year the London Film Festival’s Rising Stars top 10 list includes 2 Irish actors Jack Reynor (What Richard Did) and Antonia Campbell-Hughes (Kelly + Victor) and director Gerard Barrett (Pilgrim Hill). They join a list of the top rising stars who have already impressed critics and received awards at festivals this year. This is a group to keep an eye on…

Riz Ahmed – Reluctant Fundamentalist
James Floyd – My Brother The Devil
Jeremy Irvine – Great Expectations
Tom Shkolnik – The Comedian
Jack Reynor – What Richard Did
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Quvenzhanè Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Gerard Barrett – Pilgrim Hill
Antonia Campbell-Hughes & Julian Morris – Kelly + Victor

56th BFI London Film Festival runs 10-21 October 2012


Cinema Review: What Richard Did

DIR: Lenny Abrahamson • WRI: Malcolm Campbell • PRO: Ed Guiney • DOP: David Grennan • ED: Nathan Nugent • DES: Stephanie Clerkin • Cast: Jack Reynor, Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley, Gavin Drea


Although director Lenny Abrahamson is keen to stress that What Richard Did is separate from the Brian Murphy / Annabel’s case, it’s impossible to watch this without acknowledging it in some manner. There are simply too many similarities between the two to be ignored. That said, the film doesn’t comment on the case or the social / class issues that the case raised in Irish society. What Richard Did is a study of pressure and consequence. The titular character, Richard (Jack Reynor), is the atypical Celtic Tiger cub. He’s young, affluent and attends a private school in South Dublin. However, as the film progresses, it’s slowly revealed that Richard is not as happy as he initially seems. Constantly held up as the example and alpha of his peers, the conditioning that is worked on him begins to take its toll on him. As he begins a relationship with Lara (Roisin Murphy) that sees his teammate Conor (Sam Keeley) edged out, the film’s emotional content comes to the fore and culminates in a violent encounter outside a house party.


Abrahamson’s direction is muted and stable. There are no cinematic flourishes; here, the cinematography matches the mood of each individual scene. When Richard is withdrawn and sullen, the colours drop to a dull, familiar grey and pulled over curtains. As well as this, the dialogue is both authentic and economical. Malcolm Campbell’s script cleverly leaves out the characters’ thoughts and emotions in dialogue, instead allowing the actors to portray them using their own means. In particular, one scene involving Richard finally cracking from the tension is riveting to watch. Screaming wordlessly and pounding like a maniac, Reynor’s performance is unsettling and difficult to watch, but is also entirely believable. Supporting Reynor is Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen who plays his father, Peter. Mikkelsen’s measured tones and glacial exterior hint at someone who’s dealt with emotional issues like what Richard is going through – though not to his extent.


Overall, What Richard Did is a powerful drama that doesn’t cast judgement on individuals or society as a whole. It simply tells the story of a young man and his attempts to cope with unbearable pressure. The film’s pacing is slow and, at times, it can seem like the story isn’t moving forward – instead focusing on an individual mood or scene. However, nothing feels superfluous or unnecessary – it’s more that the point or thrust of a scene is being hammered home when it doesn’t need to be. It’s a minor complaint in an otherwise exceptional film. Both Reynor and Abrahamson have marked themselves out as singular talents; this is Reynor’s first lead role and will go on to impress again. Likewise, Abrahamson continues to lead the pack in Irish cinema and will undoubtedly move beyond our shores to become a force to be reckoned with.


Brian Lloyd

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)

What Richard Did is released on 5th October 2012

What Richard Did   –  Official Website