In 1983, the entire nation was captivated when a Mexican pilot crash-landed in Mallow, Cork. In those cash-strapped yet community minded times, building a runway was perhaps a real life metaphor for hopes and dreams taking flight. Writer/Director Ian Power’s feature debut reimagines these events as an immensely enjoyable family film centred on Paco (Kierans), a nine-year-old yearning for a father figure. In swoops the dashing but mysterious Columbian pilot, Ernesto (Bichir). Ernesto quickly charms the locals as well as Paco’s plucky single mom (Condon). Soon, the town full of unemployed factory workers pulls together to get the damaged plane airborne again.

Large chunks of the story echo E.T. and heavy doses of Spielbergian sentimentality abound, but this all works surprisingly well, and the plot’s occasional bumps are smoothed over by the film’s considerable charms. Like Spielberg at his best, Power and cinematographer PJ Dillon manage to capture the child’s eye view, where innocence is both precious and fleeting, and the adult world can be a scary place. The acting is terrific across the board and genuine humour is present throughout. The Runway is a simple and uplifting tale one would have to be a curmudgeon not to like.

Includes the special feature: ‘Making of’ Documentary

Shane Perez

The Runway is released on DVD on 7th October 2011

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • DVD Release Date: 7th October 2011


  1. Even if this movie had came out in 1983 it be derivative and over-sentimental. Is Film Ireland paid to give these bad Irish films good reviews?

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