A good year for Irish cinema just got better

Niall McCann


Niall McCann

A good year for Irish cinema just got better

What with various multitudes of crises plaguing our planet at the minute (the refugee crisis, constant threat of economic disaster, unstoppable global warming, the socialist Joan Brutal and Donald Trump's fluffy front piece wig that everyone has twigged) it is apt that the best film released this week is set in a post-apocalyptic near future, happily too it’s an Irish film and a very good one at that, from a very promising and talented Irish filmmaker.

The Survivalist

Director: Stephen Fingleton

Starring: Martin McCann, Mia Goth, Olwen Fouéré

Running Time: 118 min

Set somewhere near the border, Stephen Fingleton's feature debut is a refreshingly lean, taut and exciting film. It features Martin McCann as a (initially) lone protagonist, holed up in a small wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere. We learn about him through grunting action rather than words, what we glean from watching him is that he will do whatever it takes to survive and whatever it takes to protect himself and his possessions in a clearly lawless world. The opening titles hint at catastrophic population growth being the cause of our demise. This is a scary and depressingly believable glimpse into a possible disastrous near future; society is broken, a breakdown in law and order and morals has resulted and terrible danger and violence reigns.

One day two strangers enter into his life, middle aged mother Kathryn played by the always solid Olwen Fouéré and her younger daughter, Milja played by Nymphomaniac Vol 2’s Mia Goth, they are seeking protective shelter and when the seeds offered are not enough to ensure this protection, Milja herself is offered in barter, and accepted.

The relationship between the three characters becomes a question of ever shifting allegiance and a revolving hold on control and power. The three performances are universally brilliant throughout and as the tension is racked up you will be clutching the edge of your seats as if your life depended on it.

What unfolds from the first frame until the last is a visceral exhausting tale about human survival and our innate animalistic tendencies to survive.

It is bleak, disturbing, unsettling stuff but vital cinema and made on a shoestring budget compared to the Revenant and Mad Max and in many ways it’s a comparable success and in many others ways it's an even greater one.

A new Irish filmmaker to watch, on this showing he is the real deal. A good year for Irish cinema just got better. Bravo.

4 out of 5

Everyone loves a comic book adaptation, don’t they? Well judging by the frequency these films have been churned out lately someone must, the latest movie from the Marvel machine is a painfully self knowing, even more tongue in cheek than usual, anti hero adventure that stars Ryan Reynolds in the titular role as a smart ass, foul mouthed, half lunatic in a leotard, Reynolds here presumably trying to find forgiveness for his part in the dreadful Green Lantern film.


Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds,

Running Time: 107 min

Deadpool is now getting a film to himself he had previously been a cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he’s like the bastard child the X men don’t want you to know about and a few of the X men characters show up here to fulfil the necessary brand overlap Marvel practice in all their films complete with another cameo from Stan Lee.

Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a retired army vet who subsists boozing and brawling until he receives a deadly cancer diagnosis and turns to a shady organisation which offers him a cure but instead results in a mutation which turns Wilson into the titular super anti-hero who then seeks bloody revenge on said organisation and their leader, Ajax, played by Game of Thrones' Ed Skrein. What follows brings to mind other similar takes on the superhero such as Kick Ass and the same problems with tone remains. While at times funny and undoubtedly exciting, there is an unmistakable whiff of misogyny at times here and the constant smarty pants knowing lines brings us down a postmodern cul de sac that ends up being somewhat frustrating and restrictive.

Fans of the superhero genre will no doubt find refreshing elements here but what the film brought to my mind was the Flaming Lips song Waiting on a Superman by the Flaming Lips which tells us: “It’s too heavy for Superman to live”, no one can save us but ourselves, no more costumes, no more masks, no more capes please, even for just one or two months.

2.5 out of 5