Thursday, March 24, 2011
John Gray's new "family" film WHITE IRISH DRINKERS that this just makes me wish it were better. My companion quit watching at around the three-quarter mark (the running time is 109 minutes) because he found it "phony," but I was with the film for its entire way -- even though I admit that it goes over the top too often, especially at the point when its hero makes a choice that defies all credibility and so loses our credence. I call this a "family" film in quotes because, although it's indeed about a family, it's a long, long way from Disney.
Karen Allen), father Patrick (Stephen Lang) and brothers Danny (the elder, played by Geoffrey Wigdor) and Brian (Nick Thurston, a newcomer who should go far). Writer/director Gray (shown at left) has imagined these people with a nice combination of qualities both specific and mythic. Dad's a drunk, mom's too subservient (this is the mid-1970s, remember), the older kid's a criminal, while the younger is artistic (and no, this does not mean "gay," though other characters often tease him with that epithet ). Within these somewhat standard descriptions, Gray provides plenty of telling detail and each actor brings enough strength and focus to the role so that these people live -- and vibrantly.
Peter Riegert, above, left, whom you might say steals the movie), and a high-school crush of Brian's (another newcomer Leslie Murphy, below, right, with Thurston) who makes an appearance at a local bar where she suddenly and unknowingly doubles as a "model" in one of the film's original and most appealing scenes.
Screen Media Films, open this Friday, March 25, at NYC's Landmark Sunshine Cinema. For a schedule of cities and theaters that the film will hit in the coming weeks and months, click here.