Irish Daily Mail

AS GRITTY GANGLAND FILMS GO, THIS ONE COULD BE GOOD

ALSO SHOWING

- Philip Nolan by

Be Good Or Be Gone

Verdict: A gritty but familiar path ★★★☆☆

STE and Weed are cousins, and also cellmates in prison. Both gain temporary release for four days, and have different ambitions for using the time. Ste wants to visit his daughter and reconcile with his girlfriend; Weed wants to score a hit of heroin.

In Dublin’s criminal underworld, though, life is not that simple, and past deeds and relationsh­ips with gangsters inevitably drag both men back into violence.

This is not an unfamiliar tale, and what saves Be Good Or Be Gone from cliché is a rich vein of dark humour. Weed rather incongruou­sly wants to become a fashion designer called Mister Darius and present his collection on the catwalks in Milan. When he tells Ste he was attacked with a shoe by a woman, I laughed out loud when Ste replied: ‘Yeah? Did you get the make?’

This early jocularity soon is supplanted by some quite horrific violence, though the pool of actors in Ireland is so relatively small that it’s hard to take menace seriously from the actor who fails hopelessly at DIY on a TV ad for insurance.

In the central roles, Les Martin and Declan Mills shine; their physical difference in height adds visual comedy alone. Martin also co-wrote the film with Paul Murphy, and the dialogue is snappy, though heavily reliant on fairly blunt Dublinese at times.

If you’re easily shocked, this is not for you, though it never feels gratuitous in the context.

Director Cathal Nally make an impressive debut, not least because the film took three years to make and was partly crowdfunde­d — it never looks like it was made on a shoestring. There’s also a great music score by Joseph Conlan that put me in mind of Thomas Newman.

All in all, it’s a valiant addition to the Irish crime genre, just maybe a little too familiar to be anything more than enjoyable instead of deeply memorable.

Be Good Or Be Gone is available for viewing as part of the Virgin Media Dublin Film Festival next Thursday, 4 March, at 7pm. Online tickets cost €8.50. You’ll have 72 hours to start watching, and 30 hours to complete it after starting. See diff.ie for details. The film also will be available on iTunes and Amazon from 13 April.

 ??  ?? Gritty: Ste and Weed on a day out
Gritty: Ste and Weed on a day out

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