Brendan Gleeson, we quickly realize that, no, we haven't. And then there are those green walls -- in Gleeson's bedroom, and in the home of the first of several dead people that the movie visits. In the Q&A with the director, McDonagh, shown at left, allowed that he had chosen that green on purpose -- just to give a different spin to things. It certainly works.
But then just about everything does in this enchanting movie about drugs, betrayal, murder and other bad things. The filmmaker takes all these, and layers them with comedy. This combo of comedy and dark deeds is not particularly new. Atop all this, it's as though Tinkerbell had entered unnoticed with a handful of pixie dust and tossed it over the entire proceedings. Oh, you can see neither Tink nor the dust, but they're there, all right -- in the singular tone of the film. While dealing with the most awful occurrences, McDonagh is almost gentle, kindly, dear.
Rory Keenan, above, right, with Gleeson). I believe you will not have seen anything quite like the quirky, melancholy sadness produced by these few moments.
David Wilmot, Liam Cunningham and the ubiquitous Mark Strong, they are memorable. Likewise the pair of hookers with whom Gleeson spends his day off: This scene is sweet as pie and -- thanks to the work of the three actors involved -- utterly believable, too.
Fionnula Flannigan (above, right), as Gleeson's dying mom, does her usual fine work, as does relative newcomer and eastern European actress Katerina Cas as Gleeson's partner's "arranged-marriage" bride. Calexico provide the very nice musical score,
Don Cheadle, above, with less screen time, still registers very strongly), this is at heart an ensemble piece, with the voice and tone of the screenwriter in the catbird seat. The movie is alternately weird, funny, exciting and sad -- all of which you often get in the comedic-crime genre. What you can't get, except here, is the... well, call it the state of grace that seems to waft lightly over everything. Thank you, Mr. McDonagh.
Sony Pictures Classics, opens Friday, July 29 in New York (at the AMC Empire 25, Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinema and in Los Angeles at The Landmark -- and in the weeks to come at various Laemmle Theaters.