The All-Ireland Traditional Music Competition attracts the best musicians from all over the country -- and a few from beyond the shores of the Emerald Isle as well. As John Joe and his band prepare to capture the band trophy with their County Clare jigs and reels, Irishman Jimmy bends his Liverpudlians away from jazz toward the time-honored strains of Celtic music. As the musicians make their way towards the competition, trouble rears its head for both sets of challengers: the Liverpool Shamrock Ceilidh Band and the defending champions from Clare, and at the heart of this adversity lie the vengeful interventions of two estranged brothers, Jimmy and John Joe. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
An Irish music competition such as the one portrayed in the film is called a "fleadh" (pronounced like "flahhh"). However, nobody uses this word in the movie. See more »
The film is supposedly set in the early 60's when the Beatles were a beat band. Yet we see an English car with an H registration - not issued until August 1969. Alex and Teddy also mention Kevin Keegan signing for Liverpool. This did not happen until 1971. See more »
Is that all You ever think about, Music?
Well when you've got the music, you've got friends for life, thats why I'm never lonely. Remember that.
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For those of us lucky enough to have been "trapped" in a non-tourist, back-street pub in Limerick, the 'wrong side' of midnight and fallen under the spell of the traditional Irish ceilidh, will already have their radars up, on this gentle '60s set film from director John Irvin.
It's likable enough, if you don't dwell on its shortcomings too much. Read some of the reviews here and you'll be looking out for the faults only. There are far too many vomiting incidents to stomach, for instance and as many have said, Andrea Corr, obviously cast as a star-draw simply cannot marry up over-exaggerated facial expressions with her dialogue.
Whilst many swoon over the gorgeous landscapes and the photography will feel cheated by it actually being filmed on the Isle Of Man - there is a reason for this; IOM offered big tax breaks and incentives for film- makers, but this film is so promoted as being the Emerald Isle through and through, it's a natural disappointment to find out the truth.
Colm Meaney and his estranged brother Bernard Hill are fine as the two brothers, the former having left for Liverpool years before to make his fortune. They happen to both be going to the same ceilidh festival and as in the best traditions of cinema, they try and outwit each other to win the overall top trophy. Some of these scenes are amusing; I wouldn't describe the film as a comedy - take it as I did and you won't be disappointed with this aspect. Andrea Corr's character (minus the glamour and make-up) gets a little annoying and unbelievable and her whirlwind romance with Colm Meaney's son is bland and uninteresting (as is Shaun Evans, who plays him).
If you take the two brothers, the music, the craic, the (non-Irish) scenery and the family story you'll find a warming and invigorating Irish stew. However, the faults do mean it doesn't quite make four stars, for me.
Best line has to be - Colm and his mate sit down for breakfast at a B&B, Colm tucking in heartily, his friend feeling delicate, due to a hangover. The friend orders a pint of Guinness; Colm looks at him quizzically. 'Well, you can't eat on an empty stomach, can you?' the friend replies. I saw the film on BBC2.
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