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The Drummer and the Keeper (2017)

An unlikely friendship develops between the bipolar drummer of a rock band and an institutionalized teen suffering from Asperger's syndrome.


Nick Kelly


Nick Kelly
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Dermot Murphy ... Gabriel
Jacob McCarthy ... Christopher
Peter Coonan ... Toss
Charlie Kelly ... Pearse
Adrian Hudson Adrian Hudson ... Eric
Jane Herbert ... Jamie
Beibhinn Jones Beibhinn Jones ... Jo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Niamh Algar ... Ingrid
Andrew Carroll Andrew Carroll ... Andrew
Phelim Drew Phelim Drew ... Jeremy
Olwen Fouéré ... Doctor Assif (as Olwen Fouere)
Tiny James Tiny James ... Nurse
Dale Leadon Bolger Dale Leadon Bolger ... Roly
Hannah Mamalis Hannah Mamalis ... Ciara
Aoibhinn McGinnity Aoibhinn McGinnity ... Alice


Gabriel (DERMOT MURPHY) is a chaotic young rock drummer desperate to hide his recent Bipolar diagnosis from his increasingly exasperated band mates. At the therapeutic mixed ability football game he's obliged to attend as part of his treatment Gabriel is spectacularly upended by goalkeeper Christopher (JACOB McCARTHY), an institutionalised 17-year-old with Aspergers Syndrome. Having taken violent revenge, Gabriel faces expulsion - and the prospect of being sectioned - unless he "makes friends" with Christopher. When the isolated and socially-inept young goalkeeper takes this grudging offer of friendship literally, Gabriel finds his footsteps dogged and secrets threatened by an embarrassingly eager and dangerously tactless new disciple.

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Release Date:

8 September 2017 (Ireland) See more »

Filming Locations:

Dublin, Ireland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Calico Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Is the first film commissioned by the low budget Catalyst scheme of the Irish Film Board. See more »


Christopher: The thing he's not good at means that the things he is good at don't count. It's like Lego, where you lose one piece and you can't finish your kit you're building because of that one piece you're missing. So, you throw it away. It's a waste. Because somebody else might easily have that piece you're missing. He's good at understanding people, but he's not good at staying in control. I'm good at staying in control but I'm not good at understanding people. We each have a piece the other one is ...
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User Reviews

(Unsurprisingly) Heart-Warming, Worth the Watch
11 January 2018 | by samxuSee all my reviews

I picked this small film to watch by myself on a whim, and I was very pleasantly surprised-- not by the script or filmmaking itself necessarily, but by how much I was charmed by and grew invested in the characters, and was very gladly pulled along for their tumultuous ride. When you hear the story which is about an unlikely friendship (and the surrounding trials/tribulations) between a drummer with bipolar and a young man institutionalized for Asperger's... you can probably guess how it goes. The plot is nothing too surprising, and a lot of the pacing of the movie is what I would call expected. However, I don't think this all detracts from the heart of the movie, which I felt was is in the relationship between the two main characters. Both actors do a wonderful job, and create really endearing and emotionally vulnerable characters. The payoff at the climax and end of it all feels really well deserved as a result.

I did feel that the portrayals and discussion of the disorders/syndromes themselves were a little lacking in depth, but I don't think I was expecting a groundbreakingly sensitive exploration. But it doesn't feel like a pity party or grotesque fetishization of mental illness, which I commend, as many movies throughout history about such topics do just that. Much of the weaker plot points stemmed from this lack of depth, however, so I recommend educating yourself on bipolar and Asperger's before or after watching so you can dispel lingering stereotypes and generalizations on your own (bipolar doesn't look the same for everyone, and neither does Asperger's or autism). The film to its credit does a great job in building the complex humanity of the characters, so they do not feel like walking tropes of their disorders. They felt real, very believable, and very relatable. In the end, the film tries its best with a limited budget and succeeds in the ways that ultimately matter most for the relationship and development of its characters. I'm not sure where else to watch it if you live outside of Ireland/Europe, but if you are on a long flight with a stopover in Dublin, give this movie a watch :)

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