Irish Feature in Oscar Nominations

Saoirse Ronan has been nominated in the Best Actress category in this year’s Academy Award Nominations for her performance in Lady Bird, which is also included in the Best Picture category.

Commenting on her nomination, Saoirse said, “To have been a part of a film like Lady Bird was a true privilege and I am incredibly grateful to the Academy for recognizing this wonderful story about the beauty and strength of women.  I am especially thrilled to share this moment with Laurie Metcalf and our leader and director Greta Gerwig, who, like Lady Bird, is an incredible woman and a dear friend.”

Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner, directed by Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo, picked up a nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Consolata Boyle has been nominated for Costume Design for her work on Victoria & Abdul. It is her third Academy Award Nomination.

The British and Irish actor Daniel Day Lewis picked up a nomination for his work in The Phantom Thread. The film is also included in the Best Picture and Director category.

The London-Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh has been nominated for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

The 90th Academy Awards takes place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on 4th March  2018.


The full list of nominations:

  • Best Picture

    'Get Out'
‘Get Out’
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Call Me by Your Name
Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers

Darkest Hour
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers

Get Out
Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers

Lady Bird
Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill, Producers

Phantom Thread
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers

The Post
Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers


Review: Lady Bird

Ahead of its February release here, and to celebrate Saoirse Ronan’s Golden Globe win, James Bartlett takes a look at Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird.


The state capital of California, Sacramento is a tree-rich hipster place for many, but when you’re a broke tantrummy teenager stuck in a Catholic school with low grades and a University place well off the table, the location is unimportant.

17-year-old teenager Christine (Ronan) hates her hometown, and insists on being called “Lady Bird,” much to the chagrin of her stressed-out, ever-worrying mother Marion (Metcalf). They argue constantly, and – unknown to Lady Bird – things are close to crisis in their blended family home as dad Larry (Letts) looks like he’s about to get laid off.

Meanwhile, Lady Bird nevertheless has fun with her bestie Julie (Feldstein), and when they join the school musical and Lady Bird falls for Danny (Hedges), things are looking up – though spending Thanksgiving with Danny’s well-to-do family upsets her mum no end.

They argue more, and when Lady Bird loses her virginity to roll-up smoking pseudo-intellectual Kyle (Chalamet), who is very much part of the cool clique, poor Julie gets dumped like a hot potato.

Lady Bird then learns she’s on the waiting list for a university in New York, and sets out happily for the big year-ending prom with Kyle and his pals – but is that how she wants this period of her life to end?

A coming-of-age tale that takes place in 2002 – long before teenagers lost themselves on their phones – the directorial debut of Gerwig was originally a mammoth-length script that she says wasn’t autobiographical, even though she was born in Sacramento.

It certainly shows that Gerwig is a young talent well on the up. She’s been acclaimed for both her writing and acting already, and is getting plaudits here too. Ronan is also getting nods for her performance, walking that fine line of being empathetic and real, annoying and showboaty, and sometimes rather loveable – all while being an often-irritating teenager.

Metcalf – better known for her extensive award-winning work on the stage and as sister Jackie in the many series of “Roseanne” – is great too, mixing the overbearingness of a parent with subtle moments that allow her to be more than just Lady Bird’s greatest critic; the airport scene was a tear-jerker.

Either way, Lady Bird is a great entry in what’s a tricky genre: strong performances from the entire cast, a crisp, dramatic, emotional and amusing script, and a fluid directorial style that makes full use of the locations and indeed makes you change your mind about Sacramento (just like Lady Bird does).

Lady Bird is in cinemas 23rd February.



Saoirse Ronan Wins Best Actress Award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Emory Cohen as "Tony" and Saoirse Ronan as "Eilis" in BROOKLYN. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Saoirse Ronan has won the Best Actress Award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for her performance in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn has taken over €19 million in the US and €2.6 million in Ireland to date.

Directed by John Crowley and adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín’s novel, Brooklyn is the story of a young woman, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn, NY where, unlike home, she has the opportunity for work and for a future – and love, in the form of Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen). When a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland, she finds herself absorbed into her old community, but now with eligible Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) courting her. As she repeatedly postpones her return to America, Eilis finds herself confronting a terrible dilemma – a heart-breaking choice between two men and two countries.

Brooklyn was produced by Wildgaze Films, Finola Dwyer Productions, Parallel Films and Item 7 and was funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, the BAI, RTÉ, BBC, Telefilm and the BFI.



Irish Nominations for Golden Globes



The nominations for the 73rd Golden Globe Awards have been announced with a number of Irish featured amongst the nominations. Lenny Abrahamson’s Room was nominated in the category of Best Motion Picture. Emma Donoghue was nominated for Best Screenplay for Room, which she adapted from her own award-winning book. And Brie Larson made it a hat trick of nominations for Room with her nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture.

Saoirse Ronan was also nominated in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture alongside Larson for her performance in Brooklyn.

Michael Fassbender was nominated in the category of Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. Caitriona Balfe received a nomination in the category of Best Actress in a TV series for Outlander. Also in this category is Eva Green, nominated for her role in Penny Dreadful, which was shot on location in Dublin.

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place on January 10th 2016 in Beverly Hills California.


The full list of 2016 Golden Globe award nominations:

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Comedy
The Big Short
The Martian

Best Director – Motion Picture
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best TV Series, Drama

Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot

Best TV Series, Comedy
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
Flesh and Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, Narcos
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue, Room
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Animated Feature Film
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Regina King, American Crime
Judith Light, Transparent
Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lilly Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelson, Bloodline
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Love Me Like You Do” 50 Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love” Love and Mercy
“See You Again” Furious 7
“Simple Song No. 3” Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall” Spectre




Video: Brooklyn Premiere


Lynn Larkin is on the red carpet at the Savoy Cinema in Dublin for Film Ireland and #FilmMe for the Irish premiere of Brooklyn.

Lynn chats to actor Saoirse Ronan (Eilis), director John Crowley, actor Jenn Murray (Dolores), actor Jane Brennan (Mary Lacey), screenwriter Nick Hornby, novelist Colm Tóibín, and producer Finola Dwyer.

Along the way Lynn partakes in a bit of Bono-spotting.



Irish Film Review: Brooklyn


DIR: John Crowley • WRI: Nick Hornby • PRO: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey • ED: Mick Mahon • DOP: Yves Bélanger • ED: Jake Roberts • MUS: Michael Brook • CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Zegen

Home is where the heart is for Enniscorthy girl Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) but when she leaves Wexford to nurture a new life in New York her heart is split in two when a burgeoning romance and family ties clash in director John Crowley’s period drama Brooklyn, based on Colm Tóibin’s novel of the same name.

In 1950s Ireland, Ellis is sent across the big blue at the behest of her mother and older sister Rose to accept work proffered by family friend and Catholic priest Fr. Flood who also promises to set her up during her stay. Ellis is a mousy young woman who cuts a meagre figure on the Brooklyn bound ferry, a fish out of water floundering above and below deck with constant anxiety and seasickness. It’s not long before her travel savvy cabin mate takes pity and instructs her in everything from how to effectively negotiate shared toilet privileges on the boat to how she should present herself in the big city. When she applies lipstick to Ellis’s lithe lips we glimpse the woman she may well become after the life-changing year ahead of her.

On dry land Ellis practises, as advised, to think like an American, to walk with a purpose and to look like she knows where she’s going. Despite her obvious diffidence she pulls off the façade despite not knowing where she is going or what Brooklyn has in store for her.

Ronan inhabits the role of the naïve Ellis with aplomb and seemingly grows in stature as the narrative unfolds, like a flower opening towards the sun scene by scene. The New York of the 1950s is a little too polished in places but the detail certainly lends to the proceedings. What sticks out like a sore thumb, however, are the expressionistic flourishes that belie the understated style of the film’s source material. For example the moment Ellis crosses the threshold into the unknown is personified as a doorway awash with blinding white light that leads from the passport office to her new homestead, the entrance of which is accentuated in gratuitous slow motion. These moments, thankfully few and far between, are distracting and superfluous in an otherwise faultless set-up.

When she’s not struggling to make small talk with the fast-talking, fast-living Americans at her work in a high-end department store, Ellis passes her time slinking away from the meal time gossip fuelled by the boarding house matriarch Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters) and her yappy tenants. These comedic interludes are a welcome diversion from the main narrative seeking to highlight the sensibilities of the time with particular gusto from the players especially Cavan girl Dolores (Jenn Murray) whose skittish deer-in-the-headlights performance threatens to steal the show.

The show is a romantic one after all so before Ellis can buckle under the weight of her homesickness she meets the dark and daring Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen) on the lookout for Irish girls at the local ceili. The courtship that follows is suitably “aw” inducing and full of first-love festivity but once again the real delights are served around the dinner table when Ellis is introduced to Tony’s family only to be scrutinised by younger brother Frankie who’s intent upon saying the wrong thing with impeccable comic timing.

Just as everything appears to be going swimmingly (in a fetching green swimsuit no less) news from back home threatens to upset all hopes of a happy ever after. Ellis returns to Wexford the talk of the town all grown up and glamorous looking for an unfortunate visit but a new job prospect, familial duty and the advances of a convenient catch add up to what could become a permanent stay if her friends and family have their way. The tension of this quietly chaotic conundrum, were everyone seems to know Ellis’s next step before she does, elevates the conventional drama. She keeps Tony a secret and when local boy Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) enters the fray promising a comfortable life Ellis is forced to follow her heart to find her true home.

Brooklyn may capture the hearts and minds of its audience as its age-old story is lovingly crafted but its overt concern with glorifying the past in copious studio light and overwrought musical accompaniment downgrades the experience somewhat. Crowley guides us through the narrative with precision but it’s a performance-driven film and the ensemble cast, especially the chemistry between Ronan and Cohen, deserve any and all accolade.

Anthony Assad


111 minutes

Brooklyn is released 6th November 2015

Brooklyn – Official Website




Cinema Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel


DIR: Wes Anderson • WRI: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness • PRO: Steven M. Rales, Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Wes Anderson • DOP: Robert D. Yeoman • ED: Barney Pilling • MUS: Alexandre Desplat • DES: Adam Stockhausen • CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton


It’s safe to say that ever since his third feature, the irresistibly charming and endearing The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson has managed to establish himself as one of the most distinguishable and idiosyncratic directors in contemporary American cinema. In the past decade, Anderson has taken us from on board an eccentric oceanographer’s submarine while he seeks revenge on a glow-in-the-dark shark, to a luxury train travelling across India whilst three brothers seek spiritual enlightenment, to the tale of an anthropomorphic fox as he outsmarts three dim-witted farmers, and then to a fictional island off the coast of New England where two love-struck teenagers decide to elope after meeting at an amateur performance of Noye’s Fludde. As a result of this exceptionally offbeat aesthetic, his trademark dry wit, Anderson has won critical acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic, and there are certainly not many modern directors whose films can create such an air of anticipation amongst the more cine-literate of regular cinema attendees.

His eighth feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is certainly no exception and on this occasion, Anderson delves into the fantastical world of Mittel-Europa and takes inspiration from Stefan Zweig, the late Austrian writer who rose to prominence in the 1920s and 1930s before fleeing the continent as a result of the Second World War. The film however, is not a direct adaptation of anything in particular from Zweig’s body of work; instead, Anderson has seemingly infused his latest feature with several techniques and principles that are rooted in Zweig’s oeuvre. As a result, Anderson has created a film that will not only please his legions of followers; it might also have the power to sway even the most cynical of Anderson’s detractors.

The film begins with a young girl silently paying her respects to a memorial stone bust of an author famous for his book, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. From there, Anderson takes us back in time to the author’s experiences whilst staying at the hotel, located in an alpine resort in the fictional European principality of Zubrowka, and his relationship with one of the hotel’s most frequent guests, Zero Moustafa (played with gravitas by F. Murray Abraham). The aging Zero recounts to the author (Jude Law) his days working as a lobby boy in the hotel in the 1930s; back when the Grand Budapest was a lavish and opulent palace, full of decadent ornamentations and rich, vibrant decors, and back when it attracted only the most esteemed and refined individuals. It is here where we are introduced to the human embodiment of the sophisticated and flamboyant surroundings, one Gustave H (an extraordinary turn by Ralph Fiennes who showcases his little-known talent for comedy), the loquacious concierge who has a penchant for seducing the more senior female guests, and who takes the young, pencil-moustachio’d Zero under his wing. After one of Gustave’s former flings bequeaths a valuable Renaissance painting to him in her will, her discontented family, headed by Adrien Brody, do everything in their power to deprive Gustave of the prized, ‘Boy with Apple’.

With The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson seems to be not so concerned with history, but with the history of cinema; we can see references to Kubrick and F.W. Murnau, and the plot descends into an elaborate caper full of bizarre character studies, wondrous sequences (including a superb cat-and-mouse chase where Gustave and Zero zoom down a precarious mountain atop a toboggan in pursuit of Willem Dafoe on skis), and meticulously-designed, glamorous sets that are reminiscent of the traits of classical Hollywood films and murder-mysteries.  Anderson retains many of the unique characteristics and oddities that have come to epitomise his aesthetic, with added bursts of black humour, and moments of subtle melancholy and poignancy.

Such is the power of the fantastical images that they seem to possess an almost-ethereal quality, and by the time the film enters its final third, you find yourself daydreaming, completely lost in Anderson’s whimsical universe. While the tone remains relatively light-hearted throughout, the film’s more melancholic moments catch you off guard, but that’s not to say they are contrived or overly-sentimental; it’s a testament to Anderson’s skill  and ability that he can create moments of intense sadness in a film such as this without drowning them in affect.

With The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has proven that he is undoubtedly a master of his craft and that he is currently at the peak of his powers. While many critics have found his films fastidious and favouring style over substance, the same can simply not be said about his latest. He has created a film that is utterly captivating, endlessly enjoyable, and so awe-inspiring, that it invites viewers to return again and again; if not for the gloriously detailed compositions, then for the magnificent performances from the ensemble cast, the rich characterisation, and the strangely moving ending that will linger long in the mind.

Gearóid Gilmore

15A (See IFCO for details)
109  mins

The Grand Budapest Hotel is released on 7th March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Official Website



Cinema Review: How I Live Now


DIR: Kevin Macdonald  WRI: Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni, Penelope Skinner  PRO: John Battsek, Alasdair Flind  DOP: Franz Lustig • ED: Jinx Godfrey • DES: Jacqueline Abrahams CAST: Saoirse Ronan, George MacKay, Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor

Daisy, who wants to be called Elizabeth, is a troubled American teenager, sent to spend time with her English relations, feeling abandoned by her father. The film opens with a cacophony of her self-admonishments. It seems like the beginning of an awkward teen drama, but How I Live Now mutates into something far more interesting.

Arriving modern day in England, Daisy ignores the glimpses of soldiers and apparent militarisation. Cousin Isaac (Tom Holland), 14 years old, drives Daisy to the British farmhouse, where she will spend some time visiting her relations. Isaac introduces her to his older brother Edmond and young sister Piper, who describes their absent mother as an expert on loony extremists. Next day, mother has to attend an emergency meeting in London. Meanwhile, Daisy tries to get on with her free-spirited, playful cousins. A reference to the forthcoming World War III is not a joke. News of an attack on Paris seen while Daisy is in the airport makes sense when a nuclear attack on London occurs. The film transforms from a fish-out-of-water teenage romance to a story of survival in war-torn Britain.

Director Kevin Macdonald probably found the appeal in the story’s premise. He previously filmed a documentary on the work of celebrated British director Humphrey Jennings, described by Lindsay Anderson as the “true poet of English cinema”, and who created fascinating works during World War 2, including Listen to Britain and The Silent Village. Jennings’ influences are abundant in this work. Macdonald presents apparently peaceful rural landscapes and beautiful countryside vistas, but he successfully creates a foreboding atmosphere. A chilling wind interrupts a summertime picnic before ash from the fallout starts falling. Smoke rises ominously in a panoramic shot of green fields, indicating attacks by enemy units in the local area. Daisy and Piper arrive in the apparently idyllic village of Gatesfield, where a girl’s scream pierces the air and the appearance of foxes begins to reveal horrific wartime events.

Macdonald also draws on Jennings’ fondness for music. His documentary describes Jennings as “the man who listened to Britain”. Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance march and the Nimrod Variation feature prominently, playing on the radio, the symbol of British wartime resistance and sense of community. In some respects, the film ponders the role of mass communication. Mobile phones, the internet and televisions draw this rural backwater into the political conflicts of the wider world. They bring the world “out there” to the countryside, into the home. Later, they function as a means of maintaining contact between central government and the surviving homes that now constitute the nation. There may even be a parallel between Daisy’s absent father and Edmond’s absent mother providing a desired sense of security and this means of communicating with the state. But these deeper themes simmer beneath the trite teenage romance, becoming apparent in Macdonald’s skilful direction. His handling of the material is far superior to the banal dialogue.

The writing too often reflects its source in Meg Rosoff’s 2004 novel aimed at young adults, with its adolescent romantics and the characters struggling with insipid personal dramas. Piper, a sweet little girl who imagines a donkey as a unicorn, misses her mother, and identifies with Daisy when she reveals that her mother died at childbirth. This occurs as they journey through some dangerous woodlands, witnessing a rape and being threatened by two rogue men. Daisy’s love for Edmond keeps her going, and she’s haunted by dreams of what might be happening to him. The film becomes a little cloying at times.

Saoirse Ronan acts with such conviction as the troubled Daisy that she too raises the film beyond the limits of its sappy storyline. The war transforms Daisy from an irritating, self-obsessed American teenager, plagued by the voices in her head: “Stay away from distractions”, “Step out of your comfort zone.” Ronan’s confidence, together with Macdonald’s assured direction, carry the film. Tom Holland, who made quite the impression in The Impossible, along with George MacKay and Harley Bird, also contribute some fine performances.

How satisfactory viewers find it Macdonald’s homage to Humphrey Jennings as a means of storytelling will depend on how they take the teenage romance. In updating Jennings’ wartime concerns to a contemporary setting, Macdonald’s hints at a theme central to Jennings’ work, but fails to work it out. In her final reflection, Daisy mentions that the war had made people stop looking for reasons why things had happened. Indeed, there’s no explanation for why the war happens; it just does. The film finally downplays the connection between what’s happening “out there” in the wider world and the effect it wreaks on our personal lives.

John Moran

15A (See IFCO for details)

101 mins
How I Live Now is released on 4th October 2013

How I Live Now – Official Website


‘Run & Jump’, ‘Coming Home’ and Saoirse Ronan triumph at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh Awards


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

After a week of Irish and international premieres, short films, documentaries, workshops and panels, the 25th Galway Film Fleadh came to a close with the annual awards ceremony. Taking place on Sunday 14th July before the closing film, The Sea, the awards were attended by international film stars Saoirse Ronan, Zachary Quinto, Fionnuala Flanagan and Will Forte, as well as the President of Ireland, Michael.D.Higgins.

Steph Green’s Run & Jump scooped the awards for Best Irish Feature and the Crowe Horwath Award for Best First Irish Feature. Steph Green’s feature debut after her short New Boy received an Oscar nomination, Run & Jump is an unconventional love story set in rural Ireland and stars Maxine Peake and Will Forte.

Other winners included Dead Cat Bounce’s comedy mockumentary, Discoverdale, which picked up Best International Feature. Viko Nikci’s documentary, Coming Home, which follows Angel Cordero, a man who has served 13 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, won both the Best Irish Feature Documentary Award and the Amnesty International Award for Best Human Rights Documentary.

President Higgins presented the special Galway Hooker Awards, which this year went to Miriam Allen, managing director and co-founder of the festival, James Morris, former chair of the Irish Film Board, and Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.

Click here for a list of all the winners at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh Awards.


Saoirse Ronan Confirmed as Guest of Honour for Galway Film Fleadh


The Galway Film Fleadh – Celebrating 25 Years!

The Galway Film Fleadh has announced that Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan, has been confirmed as a guest of honour and the subject of this year’s Public Interview in the Town Hall Theatre on July 14th.

From her Oscar nominated performance in Atonement, to an exquisite portrayal of a naive and deadly assassin in Hanna and her youth-defying turn as a centuries-old vampire in the current Byzantium, Saoirse is a home-grown talent whom Hollywood royalty are clamouring to work with.

Saoirse will join a host of filmmakers and film lovers as Ireland’s leading film festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.


Cinema Review: Byzantium

Byzantium, film


DIR: Neil Jordan  WRI: Moira Buffini • PRO: Sam Englebardt, William D. Johnson, Elizabeth Karlsen, Alan Moloney, Stephen Woolley • DOP: Sean Bobbitt • ED: Tony Lawson • DES: Simon Elliott • Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Riley


Neil Jordan returns to cinemas for the first time in four years with this neo-gothic vampire tale, just as that particular genre begins to sink below the zeitgeist waves. We are now post-Twilight, with True Blood and The Vampire Diaries in their second death throes.


But there’s life in the undead dog yet. Jim Jarmusch’s revisionist vampire art-house romcom Only Lovers Left Alive just received deserved praise at Cannes, and while Jordan’s work is flawed, it’s an admirable piece of cinema nevertheless. And why shouldn’t Jordan latch on at the last moment – his 1994 take on the myth, Interview with the Vampire, is as much responsible for the vampire boom that flowed from Buffy to Twilight as any film.
The film stars Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as a wandering mother/daughter vampire team, Clara and Eleanor, constantly on the move to evade from those who would uncover their true identities, and those who already know it. A moral pair, they work as sort of Angels of Death, only feeding on the terminally ill or the extremely elderly – a form of vampiric euthanasia. Clara, eternally voluptuous, trades on her body to keep the duo in housing and out of trouble. Eleanor, eternally 16, searches for meaning in her never-ending life, tortured internally by the things she has seen and done.Their wanderings bring them full circle to the sleepy English seaside town where their story began 150 years earlier, prompting a series of fractured flashbacks that give us a glimpse into their pasts. Clara’s being condemned to imprisonment in a brothel in her earlier life is echoed as she turns a run-down hotel in the present, named Byzantium, into a whorehouse with herself as madam. Eleanor starts at a new school where her creative writing assignments draw suspicious glances and her relationship with sickly classmate Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) causes her cursed heart to skip a beat.
A gorgeous production, shot in some curious locations, Byzantium looks as good as anything Neil Jordan has made before. Ever-reliable cinematographer Sean Bobbitt (Hunger, Shame) excels in lighting the dark and murky streets of modern Britain, while sadly bringing little life to its nineteenth century counterpart. Perhaps the most in-your-face achievement of Byzantium is the remarkable varieties of ways the crew have found to light and shoot Gemma Arterton’s cleavage. Jordan has never been one to shy away from sexuality, but here the obsession with Arterton’s bosom is beyond distracting, the centre point of far too many frames. In one of the film’s most dramatic sequences, a vampire’s birth is heralded by a Shining-like cascade of blood, in which Arterton bathes, her cleavage overflowing with blood. Her cups literally runneth over with blood.

In spite of scene-stealing competition from her cleavage, Arterton holds much of the film together with an impressively committed performance. Ronan is ever reliable as a disenfranchised youth, and her sighs and longing glances carry her character’s tragedy. Sadly, she remains utterly unconvincing in romantic roles, and paired with the zombified Jones, sporting a Danish (?) accent that is baffling to the ears, makes for some very awkward drama. Johnny Lee Miller minces amusingly as the Victorian villain, while Control’s Sam Riley is horrendously underutilised in a supporting role.

One of Byzantium’s great saving graces is in its lightly sketched mythology, introducing its vampires as an underground cabal of male vampires who do not approve of females amongst their ranks, and forbid them to be makers. The idea of an ancient sect of fundamentalist chauvinists throws up cute allusions to the Catholic Church, although despite their intimidation it is hard to suppress a guffaw when they introduce themselves as ‘The Pointed Nails of Justice’.

Lovely to look at for the most part, adequately acted and with an impressive score by Javier Navarrete (Pan’s Labyrinth), Byzantium will not be one of Jordan’s best remembered films, but it is a welcome return to the gothic for the Irish filmmaker. While the ending feels rushed and features one excessively under-explained character reversal, there is enough in the film to keep the attention throughout.

A mobile phone vibrating in a puddle of blood, for example. There’s something we haven’t seen before.

David Neary

15A (see IFCO website for details)

118 mins
Byzantium is released on 31st May 2013


‘Byzantium’ – Neil Jordan to attend Irish Premiere at the IFI


A new film from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with a Vampire) is always eagerly anticipated, not least when it features top actress’s Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. The IFI, in partnership with STUDIOCANAL are offering the chance for the public to get a first look at Byzantium with a gala Irish premiere attended by Neil Jordan and special guests at 18.30 on 28th April 2013, followed by a wine reception. The screening of Byzantium is the climax of Spotlight: New Irish Film at the IFI, a new annual event at the IFI celebrating Irish film that runs throughout the month of April in partnership with the Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann.

Speaking about the film, director Jordan commented that “Byzantium was a thrill to shoot; although set in England, we shot the bulk of it here in Ireland, and managed to create a mythical backdrop from the magnificent Beara Peninsula. Thanks to Bord Scannán na hÉireann and the Irish crew who made it all possible.”

IFI Curator, Sunniva O’Flynn said “It is fitting that this month of celebration should draw to a close with a premiere of a new work by of one of Ireland’s greatest filmmakers and one whose work has been championed by both the IFI and the IFB for the past 20 years. We look forward to further celebrations in May when we will mount a full retrospective of Jordan’s work in advance of Byzantium’s theatrical release.”


Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara (Gemma Arterton) meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.

Written by Moira Buffini, Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Tamara Drewe) and Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna, Academy Award®nominated for Atonement), as well as Sam Riley (Control, On The Road), Jonny Lee Miller (Dark Shadows, Trainspotting), Daniel Mays (Made In Dagenham, Vera Drake) and Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, The Last Exorcism).

Produced by Stephen Woolley, Alan Moloney, Elizabeth Karlsen, William D. Johnson & Sam Englebardt.

Tickets for the gala screening of Byzantium (including Q+A and wine reception) are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at


  • BYZANTIUM is released in Irish Cinemas on May 31st

Saoirse Ronan to be honoured with Maureen O’Hara Award at 2012 Kerry Film Festival


Kerry Film Festival

9th – 25th October 2012


The Kerry Film Festival will this year celebrate the vitalility of Ireland’s young filmmakers, presenting the Maureen O’Hara Award for women who have excelled in film to the phenominal young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, as well as profiling some of the most exciting new short and features directors from Kerry and Ireland. The festival will open with the acclaimed Pilgrim Hill, winner of the Bingham Ray New Talent Award at the Galway Film Fleadh, which beautifully evokes a tale of tough rural life in North Kerry, and will provide audiences throughout the county with unforgettable experiences in film, from unique musical accompaniments to an inflatable cinema!


Speaking at the launch of the festival programme, Festival Director Sarah Smyth commented: “Kerry Film Festival is delighted to be able to shine a light on the wealth of filmmaking talent right here in the county. More than ever we are dedicated to opening doors and providing international opportunies to young and emerging filmmakers.”


One of the annual highlights of the festival, the short film programme will not dissappoint, with over 100 shorts screened from countries as diverse asSingapore, USA, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Mexico and South Africa, as well as a selection of films from the Busho Short Film Festival in Hungary. Looking closer to home, the rapidly expanding Made in Kerry shorts programme celebrates the best of Kerry filmmaking, with highlights including BAFTA short film winning Pitch Black Heist, starring Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham; the award winning animation Head Over Heels and Home Turfa fascinating visual celebration of the ancient art of hand turf cutting.


The judging panel of the Short Film Awards this year will include Dave Fanning presiding over the Best International Short category; director and producer Paul Duane (Barbaric Genius, Ballykissangel, Footballers’ Wives) who will judge the Best Documentary Short; writer, director and producer Terry George (Some Mother’s Son, Hotel Rwanda) for the Best Irish Short category, and Jam Media’s John Rice (Picme, Roy) for the Best Animated Short.


Special events will pop up throughout the festival to enthrall and delight, including a pop up gallery in a house on Denny St, Tralee, which will explore the boundaries between film and art. Featuring video installations by the Kerry born artist Austin Ivers, the exhibition will screen some of his most important works: CSIRO Parkes Observatory Report; 2045on the beach and Blueshirt Putsch. The marriage of music and film will be celebrated with a screening of Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece Metropolis accomanied by a live score by 3epkano and, for a truly unique movie experience, an inflatable cinema will take up residence in the Brandon Hotel in Tralee!


Additional feature films screening in the festival will include Irish debuts The Rás TailteannShamrocracy and The End of the Earth is My Home, as well as accomplished filmmaker Tom Tywker’s Three / Drei, giving audiences a chance to see a selection of thought provoking films championed by the festival.


The festival, which is now in its 13th year, takes place in venues across the county between 9th – 25th October, featuring in Tralee between 9th – 13th, Listowel 16th – 18th and in Kenmare on 18th and Waterville on 25th October.


The Kerry Film Festival would not be possible without its funders and sponsors, and would like to gratefully thank The Arts Council, Kerry County Council, Tralee Town Council, FAS, Siamsa Tire, Brandon Hotel, Tralee Chamber Alliance, Carnegie Arts Centre, Classic Movieplex, Creative Media Department at Tralee Institute of Technology, Killarney Crystal, Irish Film Institute, Goethe Institut and Kerry Libraries.


Kerry Film Festival info and booking

T:066 712 9934


Twitter: @kerryfilmfestival


Saoirse Ronan fronts IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund Campaign

Saoirse Ronan is digitally transported into a century of Irish films to launch the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund – a major new initiative to secure the future of Ireland’s film heritage.

Tonight sees the launch of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund and the unveiling of a promotional video that features Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan being digitally transported into some of the best loved moments from films being preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive including scenes from Once, My Left Foot and iconic scenes of documentary footage such as the arrival of JFK at Dublin Airport and the GAA All-Ireland Finals.

In the short film Saoirse makes a direct appeal to the public saying ‘The written word can be powerful and beautiful but films transport us to another place in a way that even the most evocative words never can… If we lose our films we lose that other place forever. The IFI Irish Film Archive urgently needs your support to save and preserve our film heritage.’

The films preserved by the IFI Irish Film Archive present a vivid and unparalleled portrait of the development of modern Ireland, as seen through the cameras of both amateur and professional filmmakers. The IFI collection spans over one hundred years of stories from everyday life to the great achievements of Ireland’s filmmakers on the global stage. Collectively this material tells Ireland’s cultural, social and political stories over the last century… as well as a record of Irish film culture. The work of the IFI Irish Film Archive is entering a new and exciting phase with the development of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation and Research Centre on the campus of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Announcing the plans Kasandra O’Connell, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive said ‘This exciting partnership will provide a long-term secure home for the Collection and allow us to create a Research Centre through which the use of digital technology will ensure the collections are more widely accessible for future generations. However, time is running out as our archive building in the historic IFI premises in Temple Bar has reached capacity. Critically, we cannot accept any more material, meaning that precious collections are in danger of being lost.’

The launch of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund comes at a time of unprecedented activity for the organisation. 2011 has seen it take part in major international collaborations with MoMA, Film Society of Lincoln Center and the New York Public Library as part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year of Irish Arts in North America. The IFI Irish Film Archive has also been making available a growing series of DVD titles including Irish Destiny, Seoda, The O’Kalem Collection and the national bestseller GAA Hurling Gold 1948-1959. Those looking to explore the collection can also attend a free twice-weekly Archive at Lunchtime screening at the IFI.

The IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund launches today with a target of €300,000 by Spring 2012. Donations will be accepted through or in person at the IFI in Temple Bar.

Saoirse Ronan’s short promotional film will be playing before each screening at the IFI as well as being shared online through, Facebook, and supporters’ websites.


Saoirse Ronan in Dirty Dancing?

Paddy Power are currently offering odds of 20/1 on Ms Ronan playing the role of Baby in the upcoming remake of Dirty Dancing. Saoirse would most likely be playing opposite Justin Timberlake, who is the 3/1 favourite to take on the Swayze mantle.

But although we know our Irish acting powerhouse would do us all proud and have the time of her life, we have to admit that an American actress is much more likely to be the wind through Johnny’s tree. Emma Stone, with her perky cuteness, is 5/1 to get the part.

However, Stone’s co-star will have their work cut out for them if the ‘spider monkey’ incident is anything to go by. Whilst filming a Dirty Dancing lift scene in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love, co-star Ryan Gosling got a kick in the neck. The goal was to have Ryan lift Emma above his head, but Emma had a panic attack and couldn’t do it. ‘I ran for him to pick me up, and I don’t know what happened,’ she said. ‘I went spider monkey around his head and kicked him in the throat.’

Ryan has shared his side of the experience: ‘Emma was convinced I was going to drop her. She turned into a bag of rats, going all over the place.’

So here’s to a fantastic blooper-reel in the upcoming remake. We’ll just have to wait, with hungry eyes…




DIR: Joe Wright • WRI: Seth Lochhead, David Farr • PRO: Leslie Holleran,Marty Adelstein, Scott Nemes • DOP: Alwin Kuchler • ED: Paul Tothill • DES: Sarah Greenwood • Cast: Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana

Saoirshe Ronan owns the screen in the new action thriller Hanna. Her mentor and discoverer Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) features her in practically every shot. Reminiscent of La Femme Nikita and Truffaut’s The Wild Child, Hanna tells of a girl raised not by wolves but the next best thing – a wilderness man: the bearded and muscled Eric Bana draped in animal skins.

For reasons not clear initially this mystery man lives in the Finnish tundra with his sixteen-year-old daughter, Hanna. He’s taught her five languages and survival skills. In the opening sequence Hanna, fleet as a wolf, is tracking a deer in deep snow. She runs fast then faster. She brings down the deer with a bow and arrow. ‘I just missed your heart’, she tells the dying deer then produces a pistol from the folds of her furs and put it out of it’s misery.

Hanna’s whole life has been spent in the wilderness. Her father has provided her with an identity. She lives in a small German city, has close school friends and a dog, named Rudi. Her home address celebrates Grimm’s dark fairy tales. Perhaps this is a partial key to Hanna’s true being. Hanna misses the company of other teenagers.

She wants to discover her origins. Her father relents. ‘There ‘s a global positioning monitor in the woods near their home. Hanna , if I push this button, there’s no turning back. Evil people will find us. But if you wish it, I’ll do so.’ Hanna requests that her father do so. Within hours elite force troops storm their enclave. Eric has already left on a hunting trip. Hanna is captured and whisked to an underground cell. There she’s interminably interrogated. She senses that the actual people questioning her are acting for someone higher. She’s right. All questions are directed by CIA regional agent Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchette complete with a southern US accent).

Hanna again demonstrating survival skills fights her way out of this prison, breaks into the computer centre and retrieves a vital print out on her parentage and DNA. She surfaces in Morocco without money, passport, or any understanding of how modern civilization works. For Hanna, her search for her real identity is just beginning.

A wonderful change of pace for the talented Ms. Ronan.

Anthony Kirby

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Hanna is released on 6th May 2011

Hanna – Official Website

Hanna Trailer


Morgan O’Sullivan to receive IFTA Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award

Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport  unveiled details of the 2011 Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award at the IFTA press launch held in Dublin’s Mansion House today. The Minister mingled with members of the Irish Film and Television Academy and congratulated a number of IFTA 2011 nominees who were in attendance before going on to announce that producer Morgan O’Sullivan is to be the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award. She praised his achievements saying he ‘continues to make an outstanding contribution to Irish film’, adding that ‘Ireland owes a great deal of gratitude to Morgan O’Sullivan’. His production credits include Angela’s Ashes, Veronica Guerin and King Arthur.

Minister Hanafin giving launch speech

Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport

Minister Hanafin commented on the importance of the audio/visual industry in Ireland, acknowledging the creative forces at work in this ‘imaginative sector’, which is ‘the face of Ireland abroad’ and produces ‘advertising that money couldn’t buy’, citing the positive example in the Wall Street Journal of a half-page photograph from the Morgan O’Sullivan produced Camelot.

Minister Hanafin with nominees

Minister Hanafin with nominees

Among those attending the launch were IFTA-nominee  Saoirse Ronan accompanied by her father Paul. Saoirse is nominated in the category Actress in a Supporting Role – Film for her role in The Way Back.

Saoirse and Paul Ronan

Paul and Saoirse Ronan

Kevin Moriarty, who guest edited the July/August, 2008 issue of Film Ireland, was in attendance alongside former Irish Film censor Sheamus Smith.

Former Guest Editor Kevin Moriarty and Sheamus Smith

Former Guest Editor Kevin Moriarty and Sheamus Smith

Also in attendance were Maya Derrington, director of Pyjama Girls alongside Sinead Ni Bhroin, assistant producer. Pyjama Girls was nominated for The George Morrison Feature Documentary Award.

Maya Derrington and Sinead Ni Bhroin.

Maya Derrington and Sinead Ni Bhroin

Commenting about his Outstanding Contribution to Industry IFTA Award Morgan O’Sullivan said, ‘I would like to dedicate this award to all of the people who have supported me down through the years but particularly the Irish Film and Television community.’

Dublin’s Convention Centre is the new venue for the Irish Film & Television Awards ceremony in 2011. This new building, located on Spencer Dock, Dublin will play host to IFTA’s nominees, winners, actors, TV personalities, directors, producers and guests as they walk the red carpet – celebrating the talent that exists within the film and television industries in Ireland and around the globe.

The 8th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards take place in Dublin on Saturday, 12th February and will broadcast Live on RTÉ One at 9.30pm.

The Irish Film & Television Awards are supported by RTÉ and the Irish Film Board.

For further information visit

Photos by Tristan Hutchinson


Minister Mary Hanafin to Launch IFTA

On Wednesday 19th January in the Mansion House, Dublin, Mary Hanafin T.D, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport will officially launch the Irish Film & Television Academy 2011 roll-out as well as announce the IFTA Awards Honorary Award recipient and also convey her congratulations to IFTA 2011 Nominees.

Those in attendance will include:


Maya Derrington

Nominated Producer, Pyjama Girls

PJ Dillon

Nominated Director/Writer/DOP, Rewind, The Runway

Sarah Flood

Nominated Actress, Fair City

Edwina Forkin

Nominated Producer, Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne

Katie Holly

Nominated Producer, Sensation

Macdara Kelleher

Nominated Producer, The Runway

Julie LeBrocquay

Nominated Producer, Burma Soldier

Rachel Lysaght

Nominated Producer, The Pipe

Catherine Magee

Nominated Producer, When Harvey Met Bob

Suzanne McAuley

Nominated Producer, Love/Hate, RAW

Eamon Morrissey

Nominated Actor, Fair City

Marcella Plunkett

Nominated Actress, Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne

Ian Power

Nominated Director, The Runway

Saoirse Ronan

Nominated Actress, The Way Back


Ronan Flynn

Octagon Films

Brian Furey


Barbara Galvin

Screen Producers Ireland

David Kavanagh

Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild

Muirne Laffan

RTÉ Guide

Tommy McCabe


Kevin Moriarty

Ardmore Studios

Michael O Meallaigh


Sheamus Smith

Former Irish Film Censor


The Way Back

The Way back

DIR: Peter Weir • WRI: Peter Weir, Keith Clarke, Sławomir Rawicz • PRO: Peter Weir, Joni Levin, Duncan Henderson, Nigel Sinclair, Scott Rudin • DOP: Russell Boyd • ED: Lee Smith • DES: John Stoddart • CAST: Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Dragoş Bucur, Gustaf Skarsgård

An intense and beautiful piece of cinema, The Way Back is loosely based on the true story of soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag during World War II. With a whopper of a line-up, the film not only features the likes of Jim Sturgess and Ed Harris, but also our very own Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan.

Not quite a feel-good film; The Way Back tells the arduous story of the gang as they make their way walking across the treacherous landscape of two continents in a break for freedom. Dealing with starvation and treachery, bravery and friendship; this film develops well, slowly revealing the intricate personalities of strong characters in a desperate situation. They aren’t the only ones feeling the chill, the stunning aesthetics of the film illustrate the harshness of the various terrains.

This film really takes a refreshing approach focusing on a soldier’s fight for survival, rather than the victorious gung-ho battle against an evil foe. It deals mainly with the internal struggles of complex people who’ve had to make difficult sacrifices to stay alive.

The Way Back does have a distinct voice – but it still manages at times to dip lightly into a hollywood cliché. Nevertheless this film is a shiny beacon of brilliance amongst the rest of the mediocre dramas of 2010. Colin and Saoirse do us proud, both stealing the show with some incredible performances, which are delivered through some quite amusing Eastern European accents. Fingers crossed the two nab us some Oscars®.

Gemma Creagh

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)

The Way Back is released 26th Dec 2010


The Lovely Bones.

The Lovely Bones
DIR: Peter Jackson • WRI: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson• PRO: Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson, Aimée Peyronnet, Fran Walsh • DOP: Andrew Lesnie • ED: Jabez Olssen • DES: Naomi Shohan • CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci

There is coldness at the heart of Peter Jackson’s new film as he presents his unappealing, vacuous, schmaltzy interpretation of a teenage girl’s afterlife alongside her abduction, rape and murder. It is a stomach-churning conflation of emotions that sends out far too many mixed signals throughout the film.

Saoirse Ronan plays Susie Salmon, a teenage girl in 1970’s white, picket-fence, suburban America, who is the victim of a heinous crime. After her murder, she finds herself in an afterlife limbo where she staggers between two states: her fantasies of lollipops, fashion, make-up and pop music with her other serial-killer-victim friends; and her need to find closure for both her and her family and expose her killer. Ok. New dress and a boogie? Find closure and expose killer? Oh, what to do…?

And so with the murder dealt with early on, The Lovely Bones proceeds to present the audience with the spectacle of Peter Jackson’s interpretation of an adolescent’s afterlife, as Salmon looks down on her mourning family from above. The special effects deployed to showcase Salmon’s afterlife fantasy world where everything is fine (all thanks to being brutally murdered) sees Jackson lose the plot and mishandle an embarrassing display of tacky hogwash. The scenes are crassly manufactured and rather than the visual feast Jackson laid on for us in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, we are instead served crude slop.

The film does nothing to justify its 135-minute running time. It’s all a bit of a mess  on earth as it is in limbo  with its awkward pacing, inconsequential supporting characters, unexplained and illogical actions, and an amazing ability to ignore the bleedin’ obvious. The story stumbles around the place crying out for the support of a better editor. The ending of the film is stretched out over a number of half-baked resolutions and descends into farce. And I have to mention that at one point Jackson steals David Lynch’s use of This Mortal Coil’s beautiful ‘Song to the Siren’. What for Lynch was a paean to unfulfilled desire becomes for Jackson a maudlin dirge for group hugs.

On the one plus side, Saoirse Ronan puts in a staggeringly emotive performance and consistently demonstrates the strengths of her acting talents. She elevates the material above the crass schlock it operates as. Apart from her performance, this film has Stanley Tucci playing the bespectacled, balding, neighbourhood weirdo with a performance straight from ‘Pervs R Us’ that Hollywood has produced so many times in its usual unsubtle way (God knows why he was nominated for an Oscar®). Mark Wahlberg has mastered the art of forehead acting and his cracking-up, vengeful father never rises beyond his limitations as an actor. Rachel Weisz gives nothing and seems to want nothing from the film; indeed she disappears from the family home at some stage. Susan Sarandon camps it up as the boozy jive-talking mother in her grating comic cameo role that merely adds to the whole distasteful tone of the film.

Hard to believe The Lovely Bones comes from the same director behind Heavenly Creatures. Whereas one is a fiendishly enchanting and imaginative exploration of adolescence, the other is nothing short of tasteless drivel. Perhaps David St. Hubbins was right in This is Spinal Tap when he said, ‘It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever’.

Steven Galvin

Rated 12A (seeIFCOfor details)

The Lovely Bones is released 19th Feb 2010


The Lovely Bones – Official Website



Jameson Dublin International Film Festival Launched

Acclaimed Hunger actor Liam Cunningham and Oscar®-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan unveiled the impressive programme of events at the 7th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival launch. The launch took place in The Odeon, Harcourt Street at 6.30 pm Monday 26th January.

Taking place from the 12–22 February, the festival features a stellar lineup of guests including Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Clive Owen, James Nesbitt, Neil Gaiman, Frederic Raphael, John Crowley, Armando Iannucci, Michel Houellebecq and Artistic Director of Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux.

Presenting over 130 features from 28 countries, the festival is due to attract audiences of over 40,000 with archive and premiere screenings, special guests, discussions and unique events.

For booking and full programme information please click here, or contact the Box Office in Film Base, Temple Bar.