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Review by Rich Cline |
dir Barnaby Thompson
scr Preston Thompson
prd James Clayton, Barnaby Thompson
with Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack, Colm Meaney, Alec Baldwin, Turlough Convery, Chris Walley, Ned Dennehy, Dylan Moran, Sebastian De Souza, Pat Shortt, Frankie McCafferty
release UK 23.Oct.20,
Is it streaming?
With its snappy collision of comedy and violence, this Irish caper has strong echoes of the McDonough brothers as it weaves criminality into everyday life. Sudden deaths and a bag of drugs intermingle with family recipes and romantic entanglements, as an ensemble of lively characters prowl around each other with intent. And with several jarring twists of fate, the film is blackly entertaining even if it's rather pointless.
In Western Ireland, Pixie (Cooke) has vowed to avenge her mother's death. Despite her fearsome local reputation, the hapless Frank (Hardy) decides to make a play for her, with his mate Harland (McCormack) as his wingman. But first, they need Pixie's help when they discover a stash of cocaine that already has a pile of bodies in its wake. What they don't know is that ruthless goon Chris (Dennehy) is on their trail. And when some of his gangster-priest cohorts are killed, Father McGrath (Baldwin) starts a war with Pixie's mob-boss dad Dermot (Meaney).
Most of the characters in this story are in over their heads, feeling fully in control while neglecting to take the situation as seriously as they should. And then there's the cool-headed Pixie, who is far more more aware of what's happening than anyone suspects (her sideline in shooting camp beefcake photos is a hilarious girl-power touch). Meanwhile, scenes are populated by a parade of ruthless criminals who stand in opposition to Pixie and her inexperienced sidekicks. And key flashbacks fills in some of the story's emotional connections.
The actors are loose and likeable, even when they dabble in grisly nastiness. Cooke has terrific presence as Pixie, cool-headed and unapologetically in control. She's enjoying the adventure and never flinches when it comes to a violent death. Her camaraderie with the amusingly overconfident Hardy and sceptical McCormack is enjoyably freewheeling, evolving amusingly as they hit the road on a haphazard crime spree. Veterans like Baldwin, Meaney and Dennehy add plenty of gristle. And even the smaller side performers are expert scene-stealers.
The characters' casual approach to murder is more than a little unnerving, especially as several cold-blooded killings are played for laughs. And the script struggles to find resonance in Pixie's rather cold-hearted quest for revenge. Still, as it heads for a shootout that combines brutality with silliness, it's easy to remain gripped to the action as it unfolds. Director Thompson expertly orchestrates the mayhem and has some fun with the carnage, but the lack of meaningful subtext keeps it from being a classic.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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