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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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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DublinSwell

Dublin Swell
Left to right: Verena Cornwall, Creative Director of St. Patrick’s Festival; Sebastian Barry, poet; Cathy Kelly, author; Maureen Kennelly, organiser; Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival.

Gemma Creagh reports from St. Patrick’s Festival Literary event, DublinSwell

An amazing night of inspirational readings, from the hilarious to the heartbreaking to the downright confusing, DublinSwell took place in the spectacular venue of the Convention centre as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival 2011. Sold out with 2000 attendees, this was the largest single literary event to take place in Ireland and I got to experience it in the lovely comfort of my bloggers booth thanks to the lovely organizer, Chris!

Off to a great start, the epic event began with a round of introductions from Mary McAleese and Margaret Hayes, as well as Mike Murphy, in his dapper white suit, getting heckled by some rowdy literature fans – yes, they do exist for every art form! The line-up was almost unbelievable, so to say that us bloggers were exited would be an understatement akin to saying Charlie Sheen is a little bit odd.

Damien Dempsey was first up, reminding us of his musical talents after Between The Canals, by belting out his unique and deadly rendition of The Auld Triangle’. Our history, past and present was alive with words coming straight from the mouths of some of the most influential artists of our time. Yowsers. The first half saw some of Ireland’s top talent including: Barry McGovern reading Samuel Beckett; an outstanding performance from the Abbey theatre; a reading by bright young writer Claire Kilroy; the always-amazing musician Lisa Hannigan and finally the man himself, Seamus Heaney.

Phew! Only half way? This was a literary marathon – we broke for intermission nearing 10pm after a roller-coaster of emotional ups, downs and sideways. I was still reeling from the bizarre excerpt from Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus – wondering how the writer of the sweet, funny Intermission could traumatise me in such a way.

On the break, I secretly tried to cover up my lack of knowledge on a few of the writers (just in case anyone asked me what I thought of their earlier work) so I spent the break googleing. However, before I even got the chance to sneak in a pint, we were already listening to some amazing poetry, and round two had begun.

Dermot Bolger with his sons  Donnacha (left), and Diarmuid.
Dermot Bolger with his sons Donnacha (left), and Diarmuid.

If it had been a war… two was definitely the victor of the halves. Paul Durcan’s poetry took me by surprise, as since my Leaving Cert I have ingested poems quite infrequently, but I found his to be interesting, funny and powerful – what a combination! Loss was a common theme among the pieces of the evening, but nothing moved the crowd to such tears, myself included, as the reading of Venice by Dermot Bolger, a poem about the recent loss of his wife, which was accompanied by a musical piece, Sad and Beautiful‘, played by their two sons Donnacha and Diarmuid Bolger. This was absolutely heartbreaking and such a beautiful piece of writing – definitely the most memorable and touching of the evening.

The mood was much lightened with Paul Howard reading one of his sidesplittingly epic Ross O’Carroll-Kelly books, Mr S. and the Secrets of Andorra’s Box.­ The story, which with fair dues to Paul, was read in character, was one about of Ross looking for some strange from an American lunatic on roller skates and ending up causing quite a public spectacle. Tee hee, it had us in tears again, this time of laughter. Also definitely worth a mention was the patron saint of Irish film himself Neil Jordan who read from his book Mistaken; Joseph O’Connor and Ghost Light, and Roddy ‘the Snapper’ Doyle with his special Saint Patrick’s Festival story, Brilliant! ­Which it was, of course…

By the time this event was over, it was past twelve and I was worded out! After the feast of highs, lows and literary legends ­spanning one looong evening – I doubt anyone could claim they didn’t get their money’s worth. I’m still in amazement at the line up, which is what I’ll leave you with as you mark it in your calendar for next year…

Mike Murphy – Master of Ceremonies

Margaret Hayes – Chair, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature

President of Ireland Mary McAleese

Damien Dempsey – Dominic Behan’s The Auld Triangle

Barry McGovern – Samuel Beckett’s Watt

Christine Dwyer-HickeyThe Cold Eye of Heaven

Biddy JenkinsonAb Dhroimeanaigh (music by Seán McErlaine, imagery by Margaret Lonergan)

Sebastian BarryA Long Long Way

Abbey Theatre – Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall – W.B. Yeats’ September 1913

Gerry StembridgeUnspoken

Eamon Morrissey – Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

Claire KilroyAll Names Have Been Changed

Abbey Theatre – Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus

Lisa HanniganLille

Seamus Heaney – Poems

Interval ( – or drinks time as it’s commonly known)

Paul Durcan – Poems

Declan Hughes – City of Lost Girls

Dermot Bolger with Donnacha & Diarmuid BolgerSad and Beautiful/Venice

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall This Is The Sea

Paula Meehan – Poems

Damien Dempsey – Sing All Our Cares Away

Paul Howard – (Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) Mr S. and the Secrets of Andorra’s Box

Cathy KellyYou’ve Got Mail

Abbey Theatre – Marina Carr’s Marble

Neil JordanMistaken

Claire Kilroy – Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant

Joseph O’Connor with Robbie OversonGhost Light

Roddy DoyleBrilliant!

Sebastian Barry James Joyce’s A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall – W.B. Yeats’ Let The Earth Bear Witness

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Interview with ‘Perrier’s Bounty’ writer Mark O’Rowe

Perrier's Bounty

With the release of Perrier’s Bounty on DVD,  Steven Galvin talks to Mark O’Rowe, the film’s writer, about the genesis of the script, the characters he created, his career to date and his plans for the future.

Mark O’Rowe began his writing in theatre, picking up a number of prizes for his successful play Howie the Rookie in 1999, which first set out his grungy world populated by low-life ‘crims’, foul-mouthed losers and head-the-balls.

 

After that, he came to prominence in Irish cinema circles by penning the well received Intermission, which won him the IFTA Award for Best Screenplay in 2003.

Since then O’Rowe has written Perrier’s Bounty, which, as he explains below, was ‘shelved’ for a few years, and also adapted Jonathan Trigell’s critically acclaimed novel Boy A in 2007.

Film Ireland caught up with him to learn a little bit about the man behind the screenplays.

Could you tell us about the genesis of Perrier’s Bounty, where the screenplay emerged from, how long it took you to put together…

It’s a good few years old now. I wrote it after Intermission. It was an original project. I wrote it for Parallel Films – the people who produced Intermission. So off I went and did the first draft. And then, they were finding it difficult to get it financed and it went on the shelf for a couple of years. So then it was brought off the shelf and was shown around to a few people and it got a lot of interest. And so everything went fairly smooth from there and it came back to me so I could do a couple more drafts. So I suppose it was a five-to-six-year process with five of those years being on the shelf! Well, when I say ‘on the shelf’, I mean from my point of view; obviously there were people involved (Parallel Films) behind the scenes working to get it made. But for me, I didn’t go near it for a time.

 

And do you think those five years would’ve had an effect on the final product… I mean, would it’ve been a different thing had you finished it first time off?

No. It’s pretty much what it was. It’s the same story that was always there. Obviously you’re improving it, rewriting it and stuff. But more or less it’s the same story.

As always with these things, people are going to categorise it. But you’ve got a lot of genres going on in this film– obviously you’ve got your gangster stuff; there’s a road movie in there; there’s a bit of western; and there’s also a rom-com element – all interwoven. Is that something you consciously set out to do?

No…well the main thing I wanted was to do something genre-based, definitely. A movie that had people shooting guns at each other! That was probably as close as it got. As soon as I started writing it, I knew it was going to be funny – a gangster-caper type. Now everything you’ve listed there is correct, but I think they all fall under the main umbrella of gangster comedy. And I wanted to do something set within a specific timeframe… set over 36 hours – a guy trying to beat the clock type of story, with three very clear acts: one which would be night 1; the second would be the following day; and the third that would be the following night; something that was very strictly structured. And then everything came from that. You set it up as a simple familiar story: a guy owes money to a gangster; he has a certain amount of time to pay; and you wind it up throwing in a few other characters and situations and see how it plays out. Well, that sounds easy. It’s not! But that’s kind of the idea.

And was it something you wanted to do because you have a love of that type of film, something you grew up watching, or just something you wanted to tackle?

I don’t know… it becomes what it becomes. I had written Intermission and that was a sprawling, multi-character, multi-story thing, so I wanted to do something that required the discipline of the three-act structure, something that I knew would end up with a big set piece, something that would have the shoot-out, with chases, the love interest; all that kind of stuff. But to flip it on its head, whenever I could… or sort of indulge my own voice within that framework. In terms of stuff that I grew up watching – the same stuff everyone of my generation grew up with – the Scorsese stuff. So I suppose when I was teenager I got off on all that Scorsese stuff and those guys, if you want to make that connection. But the one thing I find quite weary is the Guy Ritchie thing, y’know that if you have a guy with a gun and humour – you’re very much bracketed into that. But I think this film is very much its own beast, even though it would have antecedents in that and Tarantino before that. It’s about doing my own thing.

When you talk about the characters, and obviously there’s a varied lot in the film; the two that stood out for me were the two ‘street philosophers’, – Michael’s father played by Jim Broadbent and Perrier himself played by Brendan Gleeson. Some of the best dialogue the film you’ve put into their mouths. Tell us about these two eccentrics you’ve created.

Well here’s how it happened… I suppose as I developed the script, Michael, the Cillian Murphy character, became the straight man to all these comedians. So in a way, from my point of view, Cillain had the most difficult performance. He’s the one who’s on the verge of losing his mind, but he’s the one we have to identify with. He’s the one who has to keep the film grounded while everyone around him has fun playing half-crazed lunatics. So you’ve got Jodie being suicidal and desperate to get back with this guy, you’ve got Jim thinking he’s going to die the next time he sleeps and Brendan being… here’s the thing though – they’re not really ‘philosophers’: Jim just believes he’s going to die. Simple as that. Any monologues he gets are stories, the knowledge that he has that which other people don’t, which is that he has met the Grim Reaper. And the thing about Brendan is that he’s convinced that he’s a very modern, liberal kind of guy, who is accepting of his men… of everything. Yet he protests slightly too much about being ‘hep to all that shit’, as he puts it. With him, it’s pretty much about this psychopath with very little or little or no empathy trying to come across as quite sensitive and sympathetic to his men and ideas of liberality. But the fact is he’s just a psychopath.

It’s clear from your writing that your characters are very much defined by their dialogue; is that something you bring from your theatre background or is it something that you engage with in your writing?

Yes. It started off from my writing for theatre. In theatre, you often start with someone just talking. It starts with words. Not words to describe an action but words that come out as dialogue from a character’s mouth. That character would say something and you get a clue to who they are, and the next step might be in the plot. So Perrier’s Bounty literally started off with Michael waking up to these two guys saying, ‘you have four hours to get this money to Perrier’. And then it’s a case of ‘so where will we go next’? I keep it going with dialogue. I think the fact that you take that route hopefully means that you get a lot of good supporting characters because they have to make their impact in the couple of minutes they’re on screen. Then you can leave them behind; bring them back or maybe not. But they have to stamp themselves in some way. And for me that’s through dialogue. It’s more than just writing Goon 1 and Goon 2.

You’re giving them existence outside of one particular scene…

Absolutely. And this makes it more interesting because these characters have a life of their own. It gives you a lot of freedom to come up with original takes on what’s happening, because you’re kind of making it up as you go along and you don’t know everything that’s going to happen – but of course in the long term you know where it’s all going to end.

This is your third screenplay on top of your theatre output. Perhaps you could talk about your evolution as a writer.

Well I did my Leaving Cert and that was as far and my education went. I had a few different jobs. I loved movies and literature but I was never going to get a job writing. My big love was film, but there was no way then in the ’80s in Tallaght… even if you could write a script, who would you give it to? Whereas I started to think that if I could write a play, at worst I could put it on myself… in a shed in front of people I knew! It seemed more ‘doable’. So that’s how I started writing. It seemed easier to get something out there. And that led to my career as a playwright. I remember the first time I really felt I could do something was when someone gave me a book of David Mamet plays and reading Sexual Perversion in Chicago. I read the dialogue and was amazed by it – it was just two people talking. So I started to imitate him and to get into the rhythms of that kind of speech, with people overlapping and interrupting and the poetic quality of it. Even though it was very scathing, realistic dialogue – that gave me the encouragement to write and I started to write scenes around dialogue. Earlier you asked about dialogue it my work – and there it is propelling my career! I suppose I learnt that I had to tell a story as well, try to plot something, which you kind of have to do!

And so what about the future. What are you working on at the moment? Any future screenplays coming up?

I’m working on a play at the moment. But I have a new screenplay – an adaptation of a book called Broken by Daniel Clay. I finished that quite recently and BBC films are going to be doing that next year 2011. Even though it’s not my own work, like with Boy A, you end up getting just as involved.

Finally then Mark, when you speak of your own work – how involved, if at all, were you in the production of your screenplay Perrier’s Bounty. Did you work at all with Ian Fitzgibbon (director) or is it a case of ‘my work here is done’?

You’ve got to hand it over y’know. They shot a lot of it in London and a lot of it here. I have a job. I wouldn’t be paid to be hanging around the set. Of course I was out at the set a couple of times and as any writer will tell you: it’s incredibly boring! You arrive at 10.30 thinking this is going to be the most exciting day of my life, and by lunchtime you’re trying to find someone to give you a lift home! I had a bit of involvement in the editing room at the end to give my opinion on various things – some of which they took; some of which they didn’t. But I was very happy with the job Ian did and very happy with the cast. I think it’s a good job. The photography is good, the editing, the pace, and the tone in general. Yeah, I think it all came out well.

Grand. Well Mark, thanks for taking the time to talk to me and congratulations on Perrier’s Bounty. All the best for the future.

Cheers. Thanks.

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