After the theatrical phenomenon of The Weir and his buzzing screenplay for I Went Down, Conor McPherson makes a promising directorial debut with this slow-burning comedy-drama (opened out from his play This Lime Tree Bower) set at the Irish seaside. McDonald feels stuck serving in his widower dad's chippy, and frustrated by the old man being in iniquitous hock to a loan shark (Gleeson). While he ponders direct action, his older brother's romantic life proceeds shambolically apace, and just because he's a philosophy tutor doesn't mean he knows how to set things in order. Judged in the harshest light, the film suffers from a certain lack of tension, as McDonald half comically crosses the line of legality and lives to sidestep the consequence. It's also undermined by a niggling lack of resolution to a couple of minor plotpoints, and by its somewhat underdeveloped female characters. But McPherson's funny, lucid dialogue manages to take the strain, slipping questions of moral responsibility into the conversation, and provoking a steady flow of laughter.
Cast and crew