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Fresh out of prison, Git rescues a former best friend (now living with Git's girlfriend) from a beating at the hands of loan sharks. He's now in trouble with the mob boss, Tom French, who sends Git to Cork with another debtor, Bunny Kelly, to find a guy named Frank Grogan, and take him to a man with a friendly face at a shack across a bog. It's a tougher assignment than it seems: Git's a novice, Bunny's prone to rash acts, Frank doesn't want to be found (and once he's found, he has no money), and maybe Tom's planning to murder Frank, which puts Git in a moral dilemma. Then, there's the long-ago disappearance of Sonny Mulligan. What's a decent and stand-up lad to do? Written by
I Went Down is directed by Paddy Breathnach and written by Conor McPherson. It stars Peter McDonald, Brendan Gleeson, Tony Doyle and Peter Caffrey. Music is by Dario Marianelli and cinematography by Cian de Buitlear.
Fresh out of prison, Git Hynes (McDonald) runs into trouble with local mob boss Tom French (Doyle) and finds himself having to work off a debt to him. He's to accompany Bunny Kelly (Gleeson) to Cork and locate Frank Grogan (Caffrey) and bring him back to Dublin. There's some murky history at the core of this request, but for now Bunny and Git must survive each other and a host of life challenges before they begin to worry about Tom French's motives.
Hugely popular in Ireland for a number of years, this independent comedy/drama is finally starting to get noticed by a wider home viewing audience. Film takes a couple of likable rogues and sets them off on a topsy-turvy journey of peril and self discovery. So far so formulaic then. No question about it, plot is unadventurous and outcome is hardly in the realms of the twisty surprise. But dialogue and character interactions are sharp and vital, often cutting and witty. The actors are ever watchable (especially Gleeson and Caffrey), while the fact that the story focuses on a different Ireland to the one that's often tainted by "The Troubles", gives the film a freshness that off sets the standard buddy buddy road movie formula of the plot.
Director Breathnach goes for the slow burn approach, choosing to let McPherson's script dominate the picture. Yes there's some action, and good sequences flit in and out of the narrative, but the director is mostly about letting his characters breath, fully forming them with each passage of play during the guy's journey/mission. Even a sex scene is deftly slotted in and comes out as tasteful and a further expansion on the character of Git Hynes. It's thoughtful film making as regards being a character driven piece. There's a most interesting side issue involving the women in Git's and Bunny's lives, two men just about traversing the path on the wrong side of the law, both with gal trouble that gnaws away at their masculinity.
It's not the Irish Midnight Run, as I was personally led to believe it was, and any expectation of a violent fun fest will only lead to disappointment. But it has many virtues to make it a safe recommendation to those that enjoy crisp and intelligent dialogue and fully formed characterisations. Nice photography, too. 7/10
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