Adam & Paul


Time Out says

Mordantly funny and unexpectedly poignant, Lenny Abrahamson’s Dublin-set debut feature about two hapless junkies in search of a fix benefits greatly from his confident, low-key direction. There is some nicely judged acting, too, from Tom Murphy and Mark O’Halloran, the latter of whom wrote the script. Waking on an abandoned mattress in the middle of nowhere, the titular pair start their tragic-comic, city-wide search for the elusive, Godot-like ‘what’s-his-name’. Fusing the slapstick comedy and verbal misunderstandings of Laurel and Hardy with the bleak absurdities of Samuel Beckett is a tall order, but the film’s subtle modulations and unforced humour never lose sight of the pair’s last scraps of humanity. This is particularly hard to pull off, since Adam (O’Halloran) and Paul (Murphy) are so innately unsympathetic. Their inept attempts at thievery are played for laughs, as are Paul’s multiplying physical injuries, and their spiky conversation with a Bulgarian also down on his luck (‘I had to leave Sofia.’/‘Was she pregnant?’). These comic scenes, though, are contrasted with interludes of quiet tenderness, squirm-inducing awkwardness and alienating amorality. We learn, for example, that Adam and Paul have been too selfishly preoccupied with their drug habit to mourn the recent death of a childhood friend. Even more shocking is the desperate duo’s callous robbing of a vulnerable young lad with Down’s Syndrome.   What might have been an indulgent or evasive comedy about two likeable but damaged drug addicts is saved by its unflinching honesty. And what looks like a fairytale ending turns credibly dark, cutting to the cruel heart of Adam and Paul’s squalid junkie existence.

By: NF



Release details

Release date:
Friday June 3 2005
86 mins

Cast and crew

Lenny Abrahamson
Mark O'Halloran
Tom Murphy
Mark O'Halloran
Gary Egan
Deirdre Molloy
Mary Murray
Paul Roe
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