I caught this, the debut feature as director by writer Paul Fraser when it closed the first Irish Film Festival in London on Sunday evening. I was aware of his work as a writer from two of my favourite British films; ‘A Room For Romeo Brass’ and ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’. It was a pleasure to spend some time with him at last week’s Kerry Film Festival and I was excited to see the film as it sounded right up my street; An Irish road movie featuring three bickering and eventually bonding brothers. I love Irish contemporary cinema. I’ve bored folks with my lauding of the likes of Once, The Butcher Boy, The General, Adam & Paul, Garage and In Bruges.
The film doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fragile, sweet and intensely moving film. It is anchored by three fantastic performances from first time performers, beautifully shot and directed with restraint and care so that the impact and emotion occurs organically, and is all the better for it.
It’s slight in a commercial sense, so you may have to work hard to seek it out, even with a score by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol (don’t let that scare you off, it’s good). It cares about the story, of the three boys, in particular the older one as they come to terms with the imminent death of the Father and the life that awaits after. The script is superb and Fraser focuses attention of performance, and framing, allowing a naturalism to flow through the film that rendered myself, and Roma, utterly moved at the end.
You might think I’m being over effusive, having spent time with him, and I’m sure Paul at the screening thought I was just blowing smoke up his arse, but this is my kind of film and in a perfect world this type of cinema would fill cinema screens, not that homophobe Brett Ratner’s dross.
It’s a paean to life, death, family and inevitability and it contains real, good hearted moments of humanity that seem from a distant past, let alone the 1987 setting of the film. It’s funny, really funny and honest, and that’s just how I like my movies. Elegant, funny, moving, made with love and passion for cinematic stories.