The Belly of The Whale, Director Morgan Bushe & Actor Lewis MacDougall


Set over a long bank holiday weekend, misfit teenager, Joey Moody, returns to his home town in a bid to reopen his family’s crumbling caravan park and salvage his friendship with his best friend, Lanks. Meanwhile, on a mission to find the money to cover his wife’s medical expenses, Ronald Tanner, a fractured soul, risks his meagre life savings on a get rich quick scheme that ends in abject failure and humiliation at the hands of local big shot Gits Hegarty, pushing Ronald over the edge and off the wagon. After Joey accidentally burns down Ronald’s camper van and is forced to find the cash to repay him, the strange pair find themselves bonded together in misfortune. In an effort to change their shabby circumstances they concoct a plan to rob the Pleasurama, the local amusement arcade, and the domain of the iniquitous Gits.

 

 

Gemma Creagh chats to Morgan Bushe about The Belly of the Whale, his debut feature as a director and Lewis MacDougall about his role as Joey.

The Belly of the Whale is currently in cinemas

 

 

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Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: The Belly of the Whale

Cian Griffin enters The Belly of the Whale which screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.

The Belly of the Whale is the debut film from Irish director Morgan Bushe and stars veteran Irish comedy star Pat Shortt and up-and-coming Scottish actor Lewis McDougall. The film tells the story of recovering alcoholic Ronald (Shortt) and his relationship with young misfit Joe Moody (McDougall) as they plot to steal from local politician Gits Hegarty.

The main strengths of the film are its characters and the performances. The two main characters are extremely relatable but tragically flawed at the same time. Both Shortt and McDougall turn in great performances that make you laugh out loud while also pulling at your heartstrings. Shortt’s performance is especially moving as he departs from his typical over-the-top comedic roots and delivers a surprisingly nuanced and layered performance as a man struggling to come to terms with the blows that life has dealt him. Michael Smiley (known for his work in Luther, The Lobster and Rogue One) also turns in a memorable performance as local politician Gits Hegarty. He is extremely menacing and threatening while also chewing the scenery in every single scene, providing most of the laughs in the film. The cast as a whole are great with strong supporting performances from Game of Thrones star Art Parkinson and young Irish actress Lauren Kinsella as Moody’s friends Lanks and Sinead.

However, the film suffers a bit from some pacing issues. The film takes too long to get to the actual plot, spending the majority of the runtime setting up the characters and their circumstances and at times drags, spending a lot of time wallowing in the misery of the characters. In contrast then, the ending of the film is a bit rushed and clumsy, culminating in a finale that lacks the emotional payoff we have been building up to throughout the film.

In saying that, for a first-time director, Bushe (who also co-wrote the script) manages to find a great balance between humour and tragedy to make a film that is bursting with heart. On top of this, he makes some great artistic choices and the film is quite beautiful, creating a vivid and realistic picture of rural Ireland. Based on his first film, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Overall, The Belly of the Whale is a charming and endearing film that tells a poignant and at times, heartbreaking story of two flawed characters coming to terms with the challenges in their lives. It’s a touching story of love, loss and friendship bolstered by a great director and strong performances and while it’s not perfect, it is sure to delight audiences while also making them cry.

 

The Belly of the Whale screened on Friday, 16th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival    (9 – 18 November)

Opens in Irish cinemas 7th December 2018.

 

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The Belly of the Whale in Cinemas 7th December

New Irish feature The Belly Of The Whale starring Pat Shortt (Garage, Calvary) will be released in Irish cinemas on Friday 7th December.

The debut feature film from director Morgan Bushe also stars Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls, Pan), Art Parkinson (Kubo and The Two Strings, San Adreas), Michael Smiley (Kill List, Jawbone), Peter Coonan (Love/Hate, The Drummer and the Keeper) and Lauren Kinsella (You’re Ugly Too, Albert Nobbs).

Set over a long bank holiday weekend, misfit teenager, Joey Moody, returns to his home town in a bid to reopen his family’s crumbling caravan park and salvage his friendship with his best friend, Lanks. Meanwhile, on a mission to find the money to cover his wife’s medical expenses, Ronald Tanner, a fractured soul, risks his meagre life savings on a get rich quick scheme that ends in abject failure and humiliation at the hands of local big shot Gits Hegarty, pushing Ronald over the edge and off the wagon. After Joey accidentally burns down Ronald’s camper van and is forced to find the cash to repay him, the strange pair find themselves bonded together in misfortune. In an effort to change their shabby circumstances they concoct a plan to rob the Pleasurama, the local amusement arcade, and the domain of the iniquitous Gits.

Speaking about the cinema release, director Morgan Bushe said: “I’m thrilled to be bringing The Belly of the Whale to Irish cinema audiences, a wild tale of a far-out friendship formed between a lawless runaway and a gruff down-at-heel fifty-something. The producer Rory Dungan and I were fortunate enough to assemble such a dedicated and passionate team to get the film made, on both sides of the camera, and are excited that our collective creative endeavours will now get to be seen in cinemas across the country.”

The film which opened the Galway Film Fleadh during the summer had its North American premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival as part of the New Directors Competition earlier this month and also screened in the Panorama section of the Rome International Film Festival.

Bushe has previously directed the award-winning short films DoghouseMr. Crocodile in the Cupboard and If I Should Fall Behind which was IFTA nominated and received the Torc Award for Excellence at the Celtic Media Festival, and produced acclaimed Irish films The Other Side of Sleep and Anton Corbijn Inside Out.

The Belly Of The Whale was produced by Rory Dungan for Fastnet Films and Tilted Pictures with funding from Screen Ireland, RTE, BAI, Slovenian Film Centre and Windmill Lane VFX.

 

http://filmireland.net/2018/09/26/irish-films-to-look-out-for-in-2018/

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‘The Belly of the Whale’ Opens Galway Fleadh

Morgan Bushe’s The Belly of the Whale will open this year’s Galway Film Fleadh (10th – 15th July). 

After breaking free from his foster home, feral teenager Joey Moody returns to Laytown, a rural Irish town just over the horizon, in a bid to reclaim his family’s caravan park and salvage his friendship with his best mate and drinking partner, Lanks. Meanwhile, on a mission to find the money to pay for his sick wife’s medication. Ronald Tanner, a fractured soul, risks his meagre lifesavings on a get-rich-quick scheme that ends in abject failure and humiliation the hands of local big shot Gits Hegarty, pushing Ronald over the edge and off the wagon. 

After Joey accidentally torches Ronald’s campervan and is forced to find the cash to repay him, the strange pair find themselves bonded together in misfortune. In an effort to change their crummy existence they concoct a slapdash plan to rob the Pleasurama, the local amusement arcade, and the domain of the iniquitous Gits. All that stands in their way of the good life is a group of toughs, their own incompetence, and fate itself. 

The cast includes Michael Smiley, Pat Shortt, Lewis McDougall, Art Parkinson and Peter Coonan. 

The six-day 2018 Galway Film Fleadh welcomes a variety of filmmaking and filmmakers from around the world, attracting directors, actors, cinematographers and artists of all generations and cultural backgrounds. The Galway Film Fleadh celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. 

 

The Belly of the Whale screens at 7:30pm on Tuesday 10th July, followed by a Q+A with cast & crew and an Opening Night Reception. Tickets are now available at www.galwayfilmfleadh.com

 

 

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Production Wraps on New Irish Feature ‘The Belly Of The Whale’

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Shooting has just finished on Fastnet Films latest feature film The Belly Of The Whale which will be released by Wildcard Distribution in Irish cinemas later this year.

Directed by Morgan Bushe and shot on location in North County Dublin, the black comedy follows two down-and-out drifters who attempt to alter their circumstances by teaming together to hold up a small town amusement arcade. The film stars Pat Shortt (Garage) together with Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls), Art Parkinson (Kubo and The Two Strings), Michael Smiley (Free Fire), Peter Coonan (Love/Hate) and Lauren Kinsella (You’re Ugly Too).

 

 

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