by Elaine Donnellan
Based on a play by Lisa McGee and adapted for the screen by Steve Brookes and the director, Kieron J. Walsh. It is set on one fateful, New Year’s Eve. The film details the inner turmoil of a young woman called Greta (Nichola Burley) whose father is an infamous gangster in Derry. We’re introduced to Greta while she’s getting dressed up for the New Year’s Celebrations. However Greta decides to visit Foyle Bridge rather than meeting with her two best friends, Marie (Charlene McKenna) and Dara (Valene Kane), for the last party of the year. We learn early on that she has grown tired of her father’s destructive activities and is determined to end it all until a stranger happens upon her, Pearse Kelly (Martin McCann), who coaxes her down realising they have mutual interests.
Reluctantly, Marie and Dara continue to party through to the New Year without Greta. They began celebrating early that night driving under the influence to a club thereby leading to an accident. They feud over how to resolve the situation. Finally they split up after disagreeing over what to do and leave the car at the scene. This car becomes a running gag throughout the film. It’s practically a main character, providing numerous, humorous interludes throughout the movie!
Enter Greta’s father, Frank Feeney (Lalor Roddy), and his gang. Before the clubs opened, on one of their busiest nights, their safe has been robbed. Not one given to demonstrations of weakness, Frank starts investigating immediately. They round up a list of suspects and their search pins Pearse Kelly as the main culprit due to the murder of his brother, Eddie Kelly, at the hands of one of Frank’s men.
This film has a non-linear narrative done to perfection. You unwittingly witness huge plot twists which were brave decisions that paid off beautifully. This thriller explores the complicated inter-weaving lives of four young adult characters; Pearse, Greta, Marie and Dara. They have obstacles from every direction throughout the film and we’re only occasionally aware of those conflicts. I think the plot has been woven so neatly that we follow each aspect as it unfolds without question. The end might be slightly too neat but not worthy of a negative comment.
The assumption that a film based in Derry would have the troubles central to the conflict is disarmed. However the end of 2012 alone has seen two amazing films; Jump and Good Vibrations. These films drifted away from the troubles overpowering shadow, which has been cast over most productions set in Northern Ireland in recent years.
I really enjoyed this film’s comedic qualities which were somewhat of a surprise. This was evidenced by the audience reaction. This was definitely one of the best Irish productions in the past year.