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In the twenty five years they have been there, done that, the Navvy (Irish working man) clock does not stop for alienation or inner despair. They are working men, strong even indestructible. Those gnawing feelings of something not being quite right are ameliorated by the camaraderie of their mates. So what if it all ends in tears or a thumping. They can give as good as they get or used to. At least they are alive and having the craic. Until it all changes, and a silence falls on the reverie of the gang. Tragedy has struck Jackie the youngest, the brightest and the bravest. The gang does what has always been done - they gather together for a Wake, a final celebration, a cheer, to give Jackie Flavin a send off fit for a king, a king of the Kilburn High Road. He, unlike them is set to return to Ireland - his body found bruised and battered on the railway track, crushed by the passing Kilburn train. Jackie's father Micil arrives over to North West London to bring his son home. The gang ...Written by
Kings is a very fine film. It is a haunting, melancholic portrait of lost souls, the people on our streets who once belonged to some place, somewhere in another time, but who have fallen out of touch with the world around them. Director Tom Collins seizes on this feeling of loneliness and misplacement and forces us to confront it, as we immerse ourselves in the lives of Git, Jap, Máirtín, Shay and Joe. The haunting, ghostly memory of Jackie makes us also mourn his passing, as he appears to his friends between sleeping and waking, between day and night.
Indeed the film itself feels caught in time between dusk and dawn, as the characters let the world pass by in the final third of the film, when an ominous, creeping awareness invades on their drunken reverie. The atmosphere is one of a suspended moment the group of friends toast their lost companion in an eerie, empty back room, whilst muffled noise just creeps in from the bar outside. The Irish language they speak amongst themselves reflects the otherness of their lives, their misplacement in this world. As they leave and come back, it is as if they move from one world to the other, and when they finally go, they could be gone forever.
With excellent performances and a taut script, the evocative cinematography and soundtrack make this an achingly sad and beautiful work that is timeless in it's relevance.
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