High Boot Benny

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The occasional playfulness of Reefer and the Model (1987) is replaced here - another response by director Comerford to the political impasse in present-day Ireland - by a more sombre mood. This is a more straightforward allegorical tale than its predecessor, set around a 'neutral' school run by 'The Matron' (Tomelty) and Manley (Devlin), a maverick ex-priest, on the windswept border between North and South. Teenage delinquent Benny, who sports a mohican and steel-shinned boots, is a metaphorical and literal outsider, who wanders the rugged landscape that surrounds the former fort, looking after animals, and taking refuge (and physical comfort) at the school. When the school 'caretaker' is found dead, Benny is drawn into the conflict between the police, the British Army, the Loyalist paramilitaries, and the IRA. Into the arms of which group will he be drawn? This is a potent blend of didactic history lessons, flourishes of elegant dark beauty, brooding psycho-drama and cold-blooded analysis. Strong performances.

By: WH

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Cast and crew

Director: Joe Comerford
Screenwriter: Joe Comerford
Cast: Frances Tomelty
Alan Devlin
Marc O'Shea
Fiona Nicholas