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 was invited to an advanced screening of White Irish Drinkers with no expectations of the film, and I must say I was truly impressed.
From the acting of Steven Lang, who, as always - was extraordinary, to the under-appreciated Karen Allen in one of her best roles. And finally to Nick Thurston who delivered a strong, measured performance that anchors the story.
In addition, Seamus Tierney provided some exceptional cinematography shot on location in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn - rarely seen on film since Saturday Night Fever in 1977, which coincidentally is the roughly the year when Drinkers is set.
But it is the director/writer/producer John Gray who's long career of solid work has served him well in bringing this powerful story to life.
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