Dylan (Curry) is an 11-year-old who fears and loathes his rageful dad (Roe). His next-door neighbor Kylie (O’Neill) has her own set of prepubescent worries—notably a creepy, lascivious uncle. After a particularly violent blowup at Dylan’s place, these two Irish kids ditch their working-class ’hood and head into Dublin aboard a river dredger. (Given the way the film explicitly wears its references on its sleeve, you’re shocked that the pilot of their getaway boat isn’t a large black gentleman named Jim.) The boy’s older brother ran away from home years ago, so Dylan and Kylie brave both twee and terrifying misadventures in the urban jungle while searching for his him, losing what little innocence they have left.
No one would claim that director Lance Daly delivers an Emerald Isle version of The Spirit of the Beehive, though this scrappy film does have a knack for capturing the elation and confusion of late childhood in their ragged glory. Those well-pitched moments of tween angst and youth-run-wild freedom have to share screen time with rookie tricks (switching from dour black and white to color for the city scenes is pure Film School Pretension 101), a quirky obsession with Dylan’s famous namesake and some graceless melodramatic string-pulling. These abused, antsy kids may, or may not, be all right as they slowly, reluctantly mature. The adult behind the camera, however, still has some growing up to do.—David Fear
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