The Drum­mer And The Keeper

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

Cert: 15A; Now show­ing

Se­ri­ous is­sues don’t have to be dealt with deadly se­ri­ously, they just have to be dealt with. Nick Kelly’s first full-length fea­ture deals with both the is­sues of men­tal health and Asperger’s in a re­mark­ably light way and won Best First Fea­ture at the Gal­way Fleadh.

One dawn a bot­tom­less Gabriel (Der­mot Mur­phy) laughs as he sets fire to a sofa on Sandy­mount Strand. This is our drum­mer, a tal­ented and oc­ca­sion­ally over ex­u­ber­ant young man whose great love is his band. But the sofa on the strand is not his first foray into ar­son, so his sis­ter (Aoib­hinn Mcgin­nity) stages an in­ter­ven­tion. Gabriel is bipo­lar with psy­chotic episodes, he is also griev­ing. His meds do con­trol his is­sues but they dampen his fire, how­ever he is given lit­tle choice and agrees to start tak­ing them reg­u­larly.

Part of his treat­ment is to play soc­cer on a mixed abil­ity team and there he meets Christo­pher (Ja­cob Mc­carthy), our keeper. Christo­pher has Asperger’s and lives in an in­sti­tu­tion, hap­pily be­liev­ing that when he turns 18 in a few weeks he will re­turn to live with his mother (Ally Ni Chiarain) and her new hus­band.

The un­likely and not al­ways sim­ple friend­ship be­tween Gabriel and Christo­pher does them both good as they face their very dif­fer­ent prob­lems. Peter Coo­nan, Phe­lim Drew and Ol­wen Fouere are among the well-known faces that crop up to help tell a story with lots of charm, sweet­ness and funny mo­ments. It avoids any­thing too heavy, but still makes a point.

Der­mot Mur­phy amd Ja­cob Mc­carthy star in ‘The Drum­mer and the Keeper’. Photo: Gerry Mooney

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