(drama. Starring Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, Jodie Whittaker, Brendan Gleeson, Michael McElhatton, Don Wycherley. Directed by Ian Fitzgibbon. cert 15A)
Just when it seemed like even Guy Ritchie had copped on to the fact that Guy Ritchie movies were a bit old hat and moved on to more entertaining fare with Sherlock Holmes, along comes this Irish offering from the people who brought us the wildly overrated InterMission.
Essentially what we have here is Lock, Stock and Two Steaming Coddles, as writer Mark O'Rowe brings us on a frantic trawl through Dublin's underworld in which Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy) has less than 12 hours to pay off a debt to feared gangster Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson), or very nasty things will happen to his nether regions. Along the way, we meet a pair of gay gangland enforcers (Don Wycherley and Michael McElhatton), have to endure Michael's whingey neighbour Brenda (Jodie Whittaker) and also encounter our anti-hero's father (Jim Broadbent), who has had a vision of the Grim Reaper and fears that he'll die if he falls asleep.
There are definitely positive aspects to Perrier's Bounty, not least in the chemistry between Murphy and Broadbent (who looks to be having a rare, old time for himself), but, and this is a rarity in Irish movies, there's just too much going on for the whole thing to work and the coincidence-heavy plot merely becomes contrived before we hit the half-way mark. HHIII
(drama. Starring Negar Shaghaghi, Ashkan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad. Directed by Bahman Ghobadi. cert 15A)
The next time you hear some whining Indie musician spouting off about how difficult it is to get gigs in Ireland, you should give them a clip around the ear and make them watch this drama-documentary about musicians who have it really tough.
Set in Tehran, Bahman Ghobadi's low-budget but high-intentioned film follows the story of two musicians, Negar and Ashkan, as they try to recruit band members, stage a clandestine gig and deal with seriously dodgy characters to obtain forged papers to leave the country.
What's striking is that these people aren't raving revolutionaries calling for rioting in the streets, but merely musicians anxious to be heard, and their determination to fulfil such a simple ambition in the face of state sanctions, beatings and the threat of jail is an admirable one, which Ghobadi's simple but effective film captures perfectly. Good soundtrack, too. HHHII - GB