The Mighty Celt (12A)
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Time Out says
Tue Aug 23 2005A kind of canine ‘Kes’, this low-key drama about a boy and his dog concerns Donal (Tyrone McKenna), a Belfast lad living with mum Kate (Gillian Anderson) and doing odd jobs for surly greyhound trainer Good Joe (Ken Stott). Offered a chance to train his own hound – the titular Celt – and take ownership if it does well, Donal gets cracking just as O (Robert Carlyle), a former paramilitary known to both Kate and Joe, returns to town with disruptive consequences. The gap between the experiences of adults and children is pivotal to coming-of-age tales like this, and the fact that Donal is young enough to have no clear memory of the Troubles opens the way for a real generational gulf. Instead, first-time director Elliott offers an unexceptional yarn with pretty scenery but little to quicken the breath in terms of plot, character or dialogue; Carlyle and Anderson seem ready to bring some passion to their relationship but get little chance. There are moments when Elliott goes out of his way to defy expectation, but these tend to flatten the drama even further – there’s a momentous development two-thirds of the way in that Donal greets with inexplicable nonchalance. The climactic showdown is a puzzler too, a somewhat obvious cycle-of-violence metaphor seemingly out of step with the new Belfast in which the action unfolds. That the aftermath of this face-off attracts the attention not of police or paramilitaries but the local equivalent of the RSPCA might be a gratifying sign of peace, but it’s also typical of the film’s less than thrilling tone.