Film With Me In It

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

This deliciously dark farce, set in a grimy Dublin flat, lies somewhere between Shallow Grave and Withnail And I.

Mark, an impoverished out-of-work actor, lives in a squalid deathtrap, whose landlord, played by Keith Allen and none-to-affectionately referred to as Bollock Face, refuses to carry out even the most basic of maintenance until he is paid the three months’ rent he’s owed.

Sharing the shabby accommodation are his perpetually-disappointed girlfriend and his severely handicapped brother, while his only friend seems to be Pierce, a shambling alcoholic nihilist with a propensity for gambling and smoking, whose vague ambitions to be a screenwriter are as likely to be realised as Mark’s acting dreams.

No prizes for guessing which part Dylan Moran plays, and the grumpy, bewildered and selfish character is as funny here as it has been in the rest of his comedy career; while Mark Doherty, who also wrote the film, brings a nicely careworn slouch to his role as Mark. His real-life brother, stand-up David O’Doherty, plays his wheelchair-bound sibling: a role that involves little more than staring plaintively into space.

Without giving too much away, Mark and Pierce are plunged into a crisis by an increasingly unbelievable series of bleak events, with agony upon agony being heaped on to them. It’s almost watch-through-your hands stuff, as you know another catastrophe is about to strike, but you don’t know exactly how it will happen.

Like all the best farces, their predicament is exasperated by their cockeyed reaction to it, driven by their own reason but making no logic to the outside world. The stakes are ratcheted up with every scene.

Traditionally, a plot like this would be driven by panic and urgency as the hapless duo frantically try to extricate themselves from the mess. But this is Ireland – and Dylan Moran – so the pace is a lot more sedate. Pierce basically has to come up with the script of his life to get them out of the mess.

It’s a fairly predictable ride, and occasionally the pace slumps, even over 80-odd minutes, but it’s more than compensated for by Doherty’s droll dialogue, director Ian Fitzgibbon’s moody atmosphere and Moran’s magnificently wry performance. It’s a low-budget, arthouse affair, shot for just over €1million in just 20 days, so set your sights accordingly and you could be in for an unexpected treat.

A Film With Me In It is awaiting a UK release

Review date: 1 Jan 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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