Movies: Perrier's Bounty * *
(16, General release)
Mark O'Rowe is a most accomplished playwright and screenwriter (his credits include Intermission), and apparently he has been working on and off on this baroque Dublin crime drama for most of the past decade.
Which perhaps explains the film's rather dated feel, because Perrier's Bounty seems to me like the kind of movie that Guy Ritchie might have made in his pomp if he'd set one of his interminably chatty crime films in Dublin. This film is so damned wordy it even boasts a grandiloquent voiceover from a God-like Gabriel Byrne, who introduces us to one Michael McCrea at a crucial juncture in his life.
Michael (Cillian Murphy) is a minor Dublin street criminal who, perhaps inevitably given his occupation, has got in with a bad crowd. In fact, he's in serious debt to a crime boss with the unlikely name of Perrier (Brendan Gleeson), and early on Michael is paid a visit by a pair of goons who threaten him while engaging in the usual humorous crosstalk. But things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Michael's neighbour Brenda (Jodie Whittaker), for whom he carries a secret torch, has just been dumped by her boyfriend, and is feeling so suicidal that she steals Michael's gun in order to do away with herself. Before she can, she interrupts the two goons on the stairwell just as they're about to break Michael's legs: she shoots one dead, and the other flees.
Michael is now officially a dead man, and his problems are multiplied by the arrival on the scene of his father, Jim (Jim Broadbent).
One of the films' many speechifiers, Jim waxes lyrical as he tells his son he has become convinced he's going to die the next time he falls asleep. But meanwhile there's a body to be disposed of, and father, son and Brenda set out for the Dublin Mountains, the traditional resting place of the gangland fallen, with a host of enemies on their heels.
Among a strong supporting cast, Liam Cunningham is a burglar who has clearly had a run-in with a thesaurus, and extreme chattiness seems to be the film's common theme. And while no one is bad exactly (and Jim Broadbent is best, despite an accent that oscillates wildly between Cabra and Cornwall), Perrier's Bounty lacks both a humorous spark and any shred of credibility. And I'm so sick of verbose gangsters -- whatever happened to the catatonic thug?