This sombre, artful, but fatally unfocused Irish drama takes us to some grim places: John (Jack Reynor) is a charismatic young Dublin cab driver struggling to keep his alcoholic mum Jean (Toni Collette) from the claws of death. His dad is long gone, and his younger brother, who has Down’s syndrome, is in a home. So it’s left to John to clean the vomit from the bed and negotiate with a local social worker (Michael Smiley) to have his mum put into care.
Young writer-director Gerard Barrett (‘Pilgrim Hill’) is wary of melodrama, meaning there are many lingering, distracting shots here. And when he does let the drama kick in, it’s for a wordy, over-explained chat between mum and son or a clichéd scene of Jean dancing in her home to Soft Cell. Barrett also introduces an extreme moral dilemma into his story far too late for it to have any real impact – and then bottles out of dealing with it head-on.
As the determined but fragile son, Reynor has a strong presence, but Collette’s character is too thinly sketched to make much sense.