As, we discussed last week March (my favorite month) is a month filled with many things to celebrate. Last we covered Spring Break with Where The Boys Are and The Sure Thing. Today, we focus on another March celebration: St. Patrick's Day, AKA, why everyone wants to celebrate or pretend to be Irish on March 17th. I touched on my St. Patrick's movie tradition in last month's piece Cillian Resting (Acting) Face.
That's right, today, it's not only an Irish double-feature, not just a Cillian Murphy line-up, but back-to-back films featuring the amazing talent of Mark O'Rowe. I present to you the best Irish black comedy double-feature, and my St. Patrick's day tradition for a few years now: Intermission (2003) and Perrier's Bounty (2009)
I love films where the storylines intersect. It makes a world come to life, a town feel real and connected, and the characters feel more real. That was what first attracted me to Intermission (well second, the first would be the acting cheek-bones... I mean chops of Cillian Murphy).
John (Murphy) and his pal Oscar (David Wilmot) hate their jobs at a market (to the point they steal a case of brown sauce - which they put in everything now, even their tea). John also recently broke up with his girlfriend Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald). She has since hooked up with "some baldy fella," Sam (Michael McElhatton), who happens to be married. His wife Noeleen (Deirdre O'Kane) tries to get her life back together and in the process meets Oscar, but that is not necessarily a good thing for either of them.
Deirdre's mom (Ger Ryan) and sister Sally (Shirley Henderson) stress concern over Deirdre dating a married man, but their lives have other pressing issues: from a bus crash to why Sally is sporting a ronnie, you know "a ronnie, moustache, like?" (FYI "Well [she's] no Tom Selleck, but...").
Then you have the bus driver, Mick (Brían F. O'Byrne), who swears a kid threw a rock at the window, but gets sacked anyway. His frustration leads to a few drinks at the pub and a conversation with Lehiff (Colin Farrell), a criminal who has another scheme up his sleeve, one that involves a baldy bank manager, Sam. Mick invites the pining John to be part of the plan. As he is in total pining-mode, he quickly agrees, but only as long as Deirdre doesn't gets hurt. Their plan also includes ridiculous masks and John sharing his love of brown sauce in his tea with Lehiff and Mick, which leads to my favorite line - Lehiff's response and the name of my 2015 Irish playlist: "That's F#@%ing Delish."
Lastly, in addition to plotting a bank robbery, Lehiff has Detective Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney) on his trail. Lynch, on the other hand, balances work with being the center of a gritty documentary by Ben (Tomas Ó Suilleabhain) and his love and passion for Irish spiritualistic music. I know, "You just don't have the requisite Celtic soul, man."
All of these storylines and characters intermix, along with a few others woven together with amazing quotable lines written by O'Rowe. The characters have to accept certain aspects about themselves, their lives, and what is really important to them. They might still goof off at the pub, but they have at least their love lives sorted out. Just check out the trailer below and definitely make room for this movie, if not on St. Patrick's Day, then as soon as you can.
In Perrier's Bounty we are thrown into Michael McCrea's (Cillian Murphy) messy life. He owes money to Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) and his thugs, Ivan (Michael McElhatton - yes the baldy from Intermission) and Orlando (Don Wycherley), letting him know he only has until tonight to collect or he can choose which bones they break (zero, of course is not an option). If that is not enough, he runs into his neighbor (the girl he is madly in love with) Brenda (Jodie Whittaker) to discover she is back with her cheating boyfriend Shamie (Padraic Delaney). His night, of course, continues to have additional complications: risk of getting his car clamped (by Ned Dennehy and Glenn Speers), a surprise visit by his estranged father Jim McCrea (Jim Broadbent), getting a burglary gig by "The Mutt" (Liam Cunningham), getting in a fight with Shamie (who is again cheating on Brenda), his gun being stolen when he needs it most, and of course, two thugs ready to make good on their promise.
It is the altercation with Ivan and Orlando that keeps the storyline going. Apparently, Perrier feels the need to avenge his fallen thug, out of respect for the other (Ivan and Orlando were more than a thug duo). He puts a €10,000 bounty on Michael and Brenda. Hence the title of the film.
Michael, Brenda, and Jim go on the run. You then find out Jim's secret (why he cannot under any circumstance fall asleep - instant coffee and cocaine, anyone?), why Michael is estranged from his family, who is actually honorable: the drug-dealer Clifford (Domhnall Gleeson), The Mutt, or the the Savage Canine Vernacular crew, Jerome (Brendan Coyle) and Russ (Conleth Hill).
In the end, it is a story with crime and Irish black comedy, but the essence is a story where the characters are forced to sort out their lives, "tout f---ing suite." What else do you expect from a film told from the perspective of The Grim Reaper (Gabriel Byrne). It is a bit bloody and there is a scene between Brendan Gleeson and his real-life son Domhnall that will definitely shock you, now that you know they are family. However, the dialogue, dark comedy, and tender side of the characters will definitely win out. See the trailer below and be warned, a bearded Cillian Murphy may induce feelings. It will also have you quoting, "because that's me way, man, that's me way" whenever questioned about anything.
There you have it. My go-to, foolproof, perfect Irish double feature, that I myself have tested and repeated for the last five St. Patrick's Days. It pairs well with Irish Curry Chips (fries covered in McDonnells curry sauce) and a pint of stout or any Irish fare for that matter. Tune in next week, when the March-love fest continues with some Spring-themed movies.