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A FILM WITH ME IN IT

SYNOPSIS:
Mark (Mark Doherty) is having a bad day. A struggling actor, he's just been through the ordeal of yet another fruitless audition for a bit part in a movie. With his long-suffering girlfriend, Sally (Amy Huberman) about to walk out and his landlord (Keith Allen) ready to evict him he's only got his best mate, the alcoholic Pierce (Dylan Moran) and their joint ambition of writing a career-breaking film to sustain him. Life's not easy, but things are about to get worse...much worse, and then someone dies and things get really bad.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
What begins as downbeat Irish humour soon turns into bleak, black comedy in this dryly farcical Irish film, made possible by perfectly pitched, deadpan performances that are kept in check. It's a drama, as far the characters are concerned, and a pretty serious one at that. Best I don't say too much about what happens, since the effect is greater if delivered with its surprise value intact.

The screenplay is economical and cleverly structured, delivering a series of comic scenes with plenty of shock value. Dialogue is naturalistic and entirely credible, thanks to two outstanding performances from the leads, Mark Doherty (as Mark) and Dylan Moran (as Pierce). Both create tangible, if accident prone characters, flawed almost beyond redemption by a variety of weaknesses. Their teamwork is exquisite as they plumb the depths of the dark humour. Mark is the picture of the pathetically, multi-rejected actor whose whole life is spiralling down the gurgler. His best friend, Pierce, is enthusiastically struggling with a script idea for a movie, giving them both hope - until calamity strikes. Several times.

Keith Allen and with little screentime both Amy Huberman and Aisling O'Sullivan all maintain the dramatic tension with their characters, while Denis Woods creates a score that fits with the film's consistent tone of comedic desperation.

Really good comedy is best built on deadly serious material; this is a mantra the filmmakers have wholeheartedly embraced. As dark as Guinness and just as good.

Review by Louise Keller:
A wonderfully black Irish comedy in which one dead body leads to another, this unassuming film takes a simple premise and milks it for all its worth. And it works beautifully. The key to writer and lead actor Mark Doherty's concept is to firmly establish the characters and predicament of the characters before the body count starts to mount. Director Ian Fitzgibbon manipulates the material as sweetly as notes from his clarinet, and the result is like an unravelling ball of wool to a playful kitten. The more it unravels, the more fun it is.

In the attention grabbing first scene, Doherty's Mark is put through a deliciously awkward casting call by a director who has not seen any of his acting work and appears disinterested. The director is none other than Neil Jordan himself, who appears in the first of two star cameos (the second is at the end), which add greatly to the film's essence. As Mark returns to his rundown flat, we quickly establish the circumstances of his life. Things are grim. But they are only going to get grimmer. And quickly. We meet his booze-loving, gambling addicted, would-be film-maker neighbour Pierce (Dylan Moran), his fed-up girlfriend Sally (Amy Huberman) who makes cheese sandwiches for wankers, his paraplegic brother David (David O'Doherty) and antagonistic landlord Jack (Keith Allen). His life is a disaster zone, as is his flat. There's a problem with the kitchen light, the chandelier is not secure, the window is a hazard, the door handles are loose and the ceiling is cracked. Pierce is hypothesizing his latest film script scenario about a crime that goes wrong, but is having difficulty with the details.

Then there is an accidental death. And another. And another. But how best to explain it? Who would believe it ('Grieving is a luxury right now')? The options are beards and Morocco, calling the police or....... There are unexpected visitors at the worst possible times and hilarious situations involving propped up bodies and creating an environment that looks nothing like a crime scene. For lovers of black comedies, this is a smorgasboard of delicacies.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

AUDIO REVIEW
by Andrew L. Urban
(1 minute)

A FILM WITH ME IN IT (M)
(Ireland, 2008)

CAST: Dylan Moran, Mark Doherty, Keith Allen, Amy Huberman, Aisling O'Sullivan, David O'Doherty, Neil Jordan

PRODUCER: Alan Moloney, Susan Mullen

DIRECTOR: Ian Fitzgibbon

SCRIPT: Mark Doherty

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Seamus Deasy

EDITOR: Tony Cranstoun

MUSIC: Denis Woods

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eleanor Wood

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond Home Entertainment

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne, Brisbane: April 23, 2009; Sydney, Adelaide: May 7, 2009







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