Adelaide Thermes Kane tackles Tony Kelly’s comedy.

Developed from a popular web series of the same name comes The Hurler: A Campion’s Tale by writer and director Tony Kelly. This comedy film follows the story of Gar Campion. Played by Kelly, Campion is a hurler whose off-pitch behaviour makes him as infamous as his on pitch performance. With his influencer girlfriend Keeva, Gar enjoys life to the fullest by partying hard with little regard for the people around him. His world comes crashing down after he fails a drug test and is subsequently both dropped from his team and banned from the sport. He is then advised by his coach and mentor (Jon Kenny) to regain public favour by coaching Ireland’s worst team. Realising the disdain the public now has for him and being replaced on his team by a rugby player, Gar heads to Waterford to become coach. Once there he runs into Ruby (Elva Trill), his girlfriend from when they were young who he still has a soft spot for. With the monumental challenge of getting the team into shape and catching up with Ruby, Gar finds himself swept quickly into his new lifestyle.

The Hurler has all the makings to be a textbook underdog story. With a team full of unique but minimalistic characters, the disgraced player is set up for redemption. Side character Allan is a lovable sidekick played by John Morton who looks to Gar for advice whilst unknowingly being Gar’s own moral guide. What a film titled “The Hurler” lacks in actual hurling gameplay, it makes up for in Kelly’s witty and sometimes ridiculous script. The comedic aspects of this film allow an unserious tone to follow the narrative where even the weightier moments of this film are not left to settle too deep. The story is instead kept light and flowing by Kelly, keeping the audience laughing throughout. 

Most importantly, what The Hurler brings to the table is the much needed addition of a mockumentary style film to Irish cinema. This style of humour matches up with the nonchalance of Irish deadpan that we like to see on screen and this film fills that niche. The Hurler is a positive sign of the direction that this genre is headed in in Ireland. Well adapted into an engaging and familiar story by Kelly, with comedy that is constant throughout, The Hurler is an enjoyable watch if you are looking for a good laugh with an emotionally non-committal narrative. 

The Hurler (A Campion’s Tale) is in cinemas from 6th October 2023.


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