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This is yet another gem of an Irish film. I saw it last night at the
Israel Irish film festival in Tel Aviv, in the presence of the
director, the writer and the lead actor. One Gerard Hurley, although,
as he admitted, he is not a professional actor at all. In fact this
film, set in County Cork, has only three professional actors.
The story is simple. A sick father "cons" his absentee son in New York into returning to his hometown to help him recover outstanding debts. The interaction between these two is central to the film and Gerard confirmed to me after the film, that the actor playing his father, Karl Johnson, is actually Welsh although sometimes fathoming out his west Cork accent was sometimes difficult.
Along the way, our hero mets a divorcée from New York and a platonic relationship develops until she returns home. A simple story never bores and many of the other players, presumably locals from this small town in Ireland, add to a typically delightful Irish story.
The scenery is fantastic and the whole film, made on a shoestring with help from the Irish film board, was made in 8 days filming in Ireland and two days in New York. Perhaps the only give away is that it never rains once in the film. Its a pity that IMDb does not list all the players because I would like to single out the angelic older little boy.
The film is unlikely to get wide distribution. Its an Indie and it does not have big names or any money for promotion. But if you get the chance, see it, provided you don't find the regular swearing offensive.
One thing I would like to add is about the Hebrew subtitles. Some of you might know the word eejut (idiot for the rest of you). Clearly the subtitle writers did not and could not find it in a dictionary. So there it was in Hebrew, phonetically spelled as eejut!
Saw this at the Maine IFF this year, I had only seen one Irish film before this and that was called "The Guard" I left after a half hour..it was terrible.So I went into "The Pier" with little to no expectation and I didn't care much for the first 10min.....but I got hooked on the 11th min and I was so glad I stayed ..this was a beautiful story about a father son relationship, it was told in a bittersweet way that was heart breaking. The performances were really good and the two little boys were so cute. I loved the old lady June I think that was her name..The guy that played the father was great, he was complicated and really well developed. I would highly recommend this film..but be warned bring the tissues ,it's a tear jerker , but with that said I never felt I was been manipulated.the only bad thing was the production value could have been better..but it's a must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Gerard Hurley's film "The Pier" is currently on the festival circuit and it finished second in the Audience Favorite balloting at the Maine International Film Festival where I watched it. This small low budget indie from Ireland is basically a two-hander between Hurley's character Jack, a carpenter working in the United States, and his estranged father Larry (Karl Johnson) back in Ireland. After falling for a ruse to return home to visit his father, Jack returns to find that both men have considerable work to do in dealing with their relationship especially concerning the loss of the family's wife and mother that has never healed and inflicted ongoing pain. The film's title comes from where she was lost. While the film does deal with the profound issues of death, dying, loss, and grief, it does deliver its story with more charm and wit than the trailer attached to the film's IMDb page might indicate. Part of this comes from the County Cork settings and the local (nonprofessional) actors playing Larry's neighbors and fellow townspeople. Part comes from Hurley's clever script and the actor's performances. Lili Taylor plays a divorced American woman who has come to Ireland for the dual purpose of finding her roots and giving herself emotional space to get through the unspecified trauma of her failed marriage. Lili does do a great job, but her role doesn't have to do the heavy lifting to move the story along. Hurley and Johnson do an excellent job in accomplishing that. Johnson (no relation) delivers a terrific performance that likely would receive Oscar consideration in a higher profile film. This is a film that will need to be sought out at film festivals and art house venues, but it is well worth the effort to find.
This is a great little film with no B.S,. Just a straight from the heart piece.Honest hard hitting and moving without been manipulative. Made on a very low budget In Ireland with Lili Taylor and Karl Johnson and Gerard Hurley who also wrote and directed The Pier. The film is set in rural contemporary Ireland and avoids the clichés and the regular hipness that indie's portray. Again this film is just honest and perhaps a little to sincere for an American audience, but I feel if it gets to cinema's it will win people over, despite the lack of big names. Beautiful locations and really great quality acting and soundtrack. The camera work was a little off but over all excellent work, well worth seeing. I saw this film in the Cleveland film festival and was really surprised that it did not get any awards..but then again I'm not sure what that means anymore.
I saw this Film at he IFI in Dublin last Sunday, it was an accident
that I wound up seeing it, but I'm so glad that I did. I was a little
concerned initially because I heard in the lobby it was a low budget
and an "indie" film and that can just be an excuse for bad work these
days. However I was really blown away by this film I got drawn in
straight away by the incredibly strong performances by Gerard Hurley
and Karl Johnson and the beauty of the landscape.
About half way through the story could hear a lot of sniffing around the cinema because the film really begins to hit people because it is very moving without been manipulative . By the end of the film I was gutted my self by the sincerity of the ending. The soundtrack was great and L the film Lili Taylor who I like a lot was great also , I just wish she was in it a little more.
A really beautiful film, if you have a chance go see it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film at the recent Cork Film Festival and really enjoyed it.
I think it due to go on general release in January 2012 and would
recommend it to anyone.
The theme doesn't break any new ground but the excellent acting and unsentimental writing make it a terrific and touching movie.
An Irishman working in New York gets a message that his elderly father is dying and wants him to come back. On his return he discovers that the old man isn't quite as sick as he had been led to believe but he doesn't have the money to go back the US.
His father admits his deception and says he wants his son to help him collect money owed to him by locals for carpentry work he has done.
Gradually the relationship between the two men is revealed. The younger man's mother died tragically when the boy was young and neither man or the relationship between them has ever recovered.
This could have become quite maudlin and sentimental but thanks to writer and director Gerard Hurley it never does. Old wounds aren't cured that easily.
The movie is beautifully shot in stunning West Cork. Hurley and Karl Johnson as the father and son are superb. For a Welshman Johnson does a great West Cork accent! An unexpected treat.
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