maybe matteo is underwritten, but as a big shane meadows fan, and a big burley beer drinker, i was both amazed to see what i thought was paddy considine's finest performance to date, plus be in tears at numerous points in the film. the barely stifled pain of both leads was tangible, and the kids were cute, and beleivable without being hollywood cheese. i find films with such an emotional kick as this (only dancer in the dark and breaking the waves come to mind) hard to recommend to friends, and hard to watch again, but maybe it's worth watching a great film, and coming out of the 90 minutes drained. the tears were just because my team lost at the weekend, by the way..
Time Out saysShot in the nervy, New York-minute style of In the Cut, this has Considine as Johnny, an aspiring actor who bundles his family into the US in pursuit of the Dream - or rather, in flight from a personal tragedy, the premature death of a baby boy. Eleven-year-old Christy and seven-year-old Ariel (Sarah and Emma Bolger) find an old tenement in Hell's Kitchen surprisingly to their liking, even if Johnny and Sarah (Morton) are stretched to the max just to keep food in their bellies. The film's based on director Sheridan's family experience as a struggling NY actor in the early '80s and his parents' loss of a young child. As such, it toils to express emotion - and (a harder proposition) suppressed emotion. The pairing of two brilliant, loose-cannon actors gets the film a long way. Considine has a way of taking you with him when he gets in over his head. He has a grand set-piece muscling an old air-con unit through the streets of Manhattan and up innumerable flights of stairs, and another, betting a month's rent against an ET doll on a fairground game. Hair in a St Joan-ish, Minority Report crop, Morton works wonders with an underwritten role, and Sheridan adroitly sneaks us in on the kids' point of view. A shame, then, about the introduction of Matteo (Hounsou), a frightening voodoo artist with AIDS, a martyr to the phony tearjerk cinema from which Sheridan is trying to keep his distance.