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It's early autumn of 1975 in Brooklyn and 18-year-old Brian Leary (Nick Thurston) is killing time, pulling off petty crimes with his street tough older brother Danny (Geoff Wigdor), whom he both idolizes and fears. He doesn't really want to be a criminal, but he doesn't share the dreams of his old friends from their working class neighborhood either. They all yearn for the culturally approved 9-to-5 Civil Service jobs with benefit packages that will carry them through weekends of beer into lazy retirement. Brian doesn't want to end up in a soul-numbing job like his buddies, but he's sure he doesn't want to be like his best friend Todd (Zachary Booth) either. Todd has betrayed their blue-collar roots by accepting a scholarship to college. But Brian has a secret -- he's a talented artist. In the basement of the bagel shop beneath his parent's apartment, he creates impressionistic charcoal and watercolor images of the stifling city that surrounds him. When he puts on his headphones and ... Written by
"I wish I could do what you do, make somethin' outta nothing'."
White Irish Drinkers is a must see film from director John Gray. His 2010 feature starring Nick Thurston and Geoffrey Wigdor as two brothers living in an impoverished Brooklyn neighborhood trying to make their way through life despite their abusive father and complacent mother. A semi-autobiographical film about identity and life's purpose comes a brilliant coming-of-age film. A raw film that doesn't hold back, White Irish Drinkers is a true hidden gem for audiences everywhere.
Brian (Nick Thurston) is an upbeat 18-year old working at his neighborhood's local theatre and painting in all the free time he has. An artist at heart who is told too often that his work will never make a living for him, Brian is the only one in his circle of friends who wants to live a meaningful life, rather than only concern himself with making money and having benefits. Danny (Geoffrey Wigdor), Brian's brother, is just looking for a way to survive his life. The oldest child in his family, Brian acted as the constant punching bag for his father, Patrick's (Stephen Lang) many drunken beatings. Spending all of his family's money, and all of his time at the bar meant Patrick came home many nights angry at the world and himself for not providing enough for his family to survive. The family matriarch, Margaret (Karen Allen) believes her duty as a good Catholic wife means enduring her husband's abuse and holding out hope for more good times than bad. Both brothers, aimless in their own ways just seek to survive to the next day. Danny, who has taken to robbing jewelry stores as his means of survival, hatches a plan to rob the theatre Brian works for when he hears that the Rolling Stones will be performing there in a desperate attempt to save the theatre. Danny wants Brian to rob the theatre with them, then leave the city together with enough money to start better lives for each other. Brian, however, is no thief; he's already tried that life and failed at it, plus, he is far too loyal to theatre manager Whitey (Peter Riegert) to double-cross him. Stuck between familial loyalty that runs strong through the predominantly Irish neighborhood he lives in and the loyalty to the only person who's ever given him a chance, Brian must decide whether to adopt a life of crime as a means of getting by, as his brother did, or staying on the straight and narrow path and forging a meaningful destiny, no matter how uncertain that destiny is.
White Irish Drinkers is a beautifully shot film filled with amazing use of sounds that will strike audiences instantly. With its brilliant score, White Irish Drinkers is a film that will stay in your ears, and your head, days after seeing it. The writing was fun, rife with references to the 70's time period in which it takes place. It's actually impossible to miss the fact that this takes place in the 70's, with pop culture references filling the script with machine gun rapidness. It's always fun to see a favorite movie pop up in a modern-day film, and being a big Rocky Horror Picture Show fan, it was cool to see such a cheeky reference to it in White Irish Drinkers. Creating such a poignant, fresh coming-of-age tale that really delves into what it means to live life with a purpose, White Irish Drinkers is one of those understated films that really doesn't get the credit it deserves.
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