Category Archives: Film Review

FILM REVIEW: THE REVENGE OF THE MEKONS (2013)

“the band that took punk ideology most seriously”

Directer: Joe Angio    Release Date: November, 2013  Running Time: 99 minutes

“A loving ode to an unsung band” – LA Times
“Marvelous” – New York Post
“Jubilant” – The Village Voice

Revenge-of-the-Mekons

Emerging soon after the first blasts of UK punk rock, the Mekons went from being a group of socialist art students with no musical skills to the prolific, raucous, rabble rousing progeny of country legend Hank Williams. Formed in Leeds by Jon Langford, Kevin Lycett, Mark White, Andy Corrigan and Tom Greenhalgh they were from the outset highly principled stating

”That anybody could do it; that we didn’t want to be stars; that there was no set group as such, anybody could get up and join in and instruments would be swapped around; that there’d be no distance between the audience and the band; that we were nobody special”

They took the band’s name from the Mekon, an evil character from the Dan Dare comic strip in the popular 1950’s comic The Eagle which briefly resurfaced when I was a kid in the 80’s. Their first single, released in 1978, was ‘Never Been in a Riot’, a piss take of The Clash’s ‘White Riot’ and was a masterpiece of simplistic DIY punk, rock and roll.

The band carried on for several years playing their noisy brand of post-punk rock releasing singles on a variety of labels and their first album, The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strnen, was recorded using a friends bands instruments. Due to an error by the record company art department the cover featured pictures of, fellow Leeds band, Gang of Four by mistake. After The Mekons Story compilation in 1982 the band called it a day, with Langford forming The Three Johns.

They soon returned and began pumping out album after album again on a multitude of labels and even at one time making it onto a major though the resulting album was a commercial flop and though it was loved by the fans they were soon dropped like the proverbial hot potato and cut adrift again.

mekons mekons mekons

click for download link

Over the years and as the band have learnt to play their instruments their musical style has transformed and The Mekons are now as famous for playing country and folk music as well as brief forays into rock and even dub reggae. With around twenty albums to their name plus untold amount of singles and EP’s as well appearances on dozens of compilations they have a massive discography so a good place to start would be Mekons, Mekons, Mekons which you can download by clicking on the record cover on the right. It covers the years 1987-1992 which includes both their punkier days and their transformation into a post-punk, cowpunk or alt-country band (or whatever label the press give them at that moment in time).

Around 1985’s brilliant Fear And Whiskey the first signs of a full on change in style began to show. Taking the outlaw country’n’western of Hank Williams/Johnny Cash rather than the cowboy hat and glitter of Nashville and The Mekons successfully reinvented themselves. Joe Angio’s exuberant film ‘Revenge Of The Mekons’ documents the unlikely career of this genre-defying collective. Following their improbable history- a surprising and influential embrace of folk and country music, forays into the art world and consistent bad luck with major record labels. Featuring interviews with fans, from musician Will Oldham, author Jonathan Franzen to film director Mary Harron and comedian Fred Armisen, ‘Revenge Of The Mekons’ reveals four decades into an ever-evolving career how The Mekons continue to make bold, unpredictable music while staying true to the punk roots.

Mekons at the Poetry Foundation July 2015

Mekons circa 2015 left to right: Lu Edmonds, Tom Greenhalgh, Steve Goulding, Sally Timms, Jon Langford, Susie Honeyman, Rico Bell (not pictured: Sarah Corina)

Critically and cultishly adored The Mekons deserve to be much more well known and this film reveals how, four decades into a still-evolving career, the Mekons continue to make original, genre-defying music while staying true to the punk ethos.

(Q&A and performance with band members Jon Langford and Lu Edmunds following the screening of Revenge of the Mekons in 2015)

WATCH REVENGE OF THE MEKONS

HERE

1. Close any ads
2. Find the proper play button and click on it
3. The film will start playing.

Buy The Documentary

Here

Contact The Band

Facebook  UnofficialWebSite  BloodshotRecords

The Mekons On The Web

The 10 Best Mekons Songs here * LastFM * AllMusic * The Mekons Blog here * The Mekons discography reviews here  A Skeptic’s Guide To The Mekons here * Toppermost here

FILM REVIEW: TOWNIES- IRISH MOB (2007)

For any of you out there who haven’t seen Townies the short film by Mike O’Dea then here it is in all its original You Tube glory. Made back in 2007 it began production as a full movie but was forced to closed down after the Police busted them for filming a mob hit scene in south Boston without the official permits. The director took that footage and incorporated it into a forty-five minute short film. There were plans to re-shoot the entire film under a new title this year and Mike O’Dea has just announced that this will be happening. As Mike said on his official Facebook page

“I’m gearing up to begin filming my latest feature film ‘Hustler’. It’s about a Boston drug dealer who loses drugs and guns that belong to the mob. He has only 2 days to get it all back”

Country: USA Release Date: 15 August 2009 Production Co: Shamrock Films

Director: Mike O’Dea  Writer: Mike O’Dea

Starring: Mike O’Dea, Jimmy Burke, Frannie Bryne, Michael Foot, Wade Gallagher, Johnny Hickey

Townies opens to the sound of London Irish celtic rockers The Bible Code Sundays singing ‘Honour Of The Gael’, a tune the band wrote specifically for the film. It is set in the town of Charlestown an Irish-American neighbourhood where the locals refer to themselves as townies. It is the oldest district in Boston and has always been known as an Irish area. In common with most cities now though since the late 1980s Charlestown has changed dramatically. The yuppies have moved in and gentrification has overtaken much of the area, as it has in much of Boston, but it still maintains a strong working class Irish American population and ‘Townie’ attitude.

After being released from prison, the son of an Irish mafia boss returns to his home town. Mickey Callaghan dreams of getting out of Boston and relocating to Florida but visions of palm trees vanish in gun smoke when he’s immediately surrounded by his Charlestown gangster crew and all of their problems. Murder and revenge is taking brother for brother and friend for friend until the vicious circle of bloody violence finally comes around to him.

(newspaper report about the filming of Townies)

Townies 1CHARLESTOWN, Mass.-A handgun, gun shots and a bleeding victim; sounds like the scene of a crime, but when police responded to the incident, they discovered that it was all part of an act. State Police rushed to the scene for a report of shots fired at Paul Revere Park. When they got there, officers found a man, a fake gun and another with fake blood on his arm. “As I was coming up to him, he did pull his right hand out and saw a bit of his weapon,” Trooper Robert Malloy, State Police Marine Unit, said. “My adrenaline was pumping pretty good man,” Wade Gallagher, actor, said. “It was quite a rush.” Wade Gallagher is not a killer. He’s an actor who was filming a mob movie called ‘Townies’. Paul Revere Park was not an actual crime scene, but witnesses saw the gun and the blood they ran screaming for help. “It’s an actual gun and it fires blanks,” Mike O’Dea, Film Director, said. “Nothing actually comes out of the chamber.” Here’s the problem, O’Dea never told the city or police they were filming a violent mob scene in broad daylight. They did however post a sign on a car near the scene. “Well, we don’t have any money for permits, so you gotta do what you gotta do to get the movie done,” O’Dea said. “So, we took a risk and paid the price for it.” The actors were not arrested; however they are expected to face a judge later this month to face charges of disorderly conduct. They say that it was all worth it. “It’s supposed to be the most realistic mob movie ever made, so I guess we proved that today didn’t we,” O’Dea said. – – 2007 Sunbeam Television Corp.

Soundtrack:

Bible Code Sundays- ‘Honour Of The Gael’
Nowhere USA- ‘Enemy Is Me’
Sharky Doyle’s- ‘Everybody’d Irish’
The Bible Code Sundays- ‘My Town’
Kilmaine Saints- ’57’
Kilmaine Saints- ‘The Whiskey’s Calling’
Mr Irish. Bastard- ‘Everyone Must Die’
Wet Your Whistle- ‘Well Below The Valley’
Nowhere USA- ‘Today’
Sharky Doyle’s- ‘Catholic School’
Nowhere USA- ‘Perfect’
The Cloves And The Tobacco- ‘Shamrockville’
Kilmaine Saints- ‘Brave Yankee Boys’

Follow Michael O’Dea (actor and Director)

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  IMDb

The Top Ten Irish Mobster Movies Here * Twenty Questions With Mike O’Dea  Here * Irish Organised Crime Forum  Here *  The Irish-American Gangster In Film  Here

FILM REVIEW: ‘A MAN YOU DON’T MEET EVERY DAY’ (1994)

It’s the mid-nineties in London and a couple meet through a lonely hearts column. She is an middle class English married woman, he is an lonely Irish mechanic and despite the gulf between them they start an affair.

The Pogues

CREW

Director: Angela Pope Writer: Ronan Bennett  Producer: Belinda Allen  Cinematography: Gavin Finney

CAST

Richard Hawley as Jim, Colum Convey as Bernie, Conleth Hill as Michael, John Keegan as Aidan, Harriet Walter as Charlotte, Peter Davison as Robert, Ray Nicholas as Crackdealer, Joanna Wake as Landlady, Doreen Mantle as Mrs. Norton, Kika Mirylees as Caroline, Bill French as John, Eamon Maguire as Jack McConville, Lesley Taylor Jones as Eileen, Emma Hill as Newscaster, Marianne Hemming as Woman Upstairs, Kevin Kibbey as Man Upstairs and

Shane MacGowan and The Popes as Themselves!

RUNNING TIME

64 Minutes

MUSIC

The Pogues * Shane MacGowan And The Popes

Well until just recently I never even knew this film to exist! ‘A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’ was made by Channel 4 and broadcast, it would appear, the one and only time way back in 1994. Why this should be is anyone’s guess especially in this day and age when it is possible to stream anything over the internet. The film is just over an hour long and tells the story of Jim, a lonely mechanic working over in London from Belfast with his mate Bernie.

Ronan Bennett

Ronan Bennett

Written by the prolific writer Ronan Bennett. Ronan was born in Belfast and has led an interesting life to say the least having been convicted of murdering an RUC Inspector in 1974 at the age of only 18. He was jailed in the notorious Long Kesh prison but his conviction was declared unsafe and overturned and he was released in 1975. He moved to London and in 1978 was caught up with the arrests around the anarchist Angry Brigade bombings and he was a defendant in the ‘Persons Unknown’ trial. Charged with conspiracy to cause explosions he was again sent to prison, serving 16 months on remand. Ronan conducted his own defence and all defendants were eventually found not guilty. He went on to study history at Kings College London receiving a first class honours degree and later completed his PhD at the college in 1987. Since then Ronan has wrote numerous screenplays and dramas as well as completing both novels and non-fiction books. He was the uncredited co-author of ‘Stolen Years’, the prison memoir of Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four who were wrongfully convicted in 1975 of the Guildford pub bomb in 1974.

Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley

Straight away in the first five minutes of ‘A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’ you get Shane MacGowan singing ‘Lullaby Of London’ over the credits as well as a half dozen Pogues references including a visit to White City greyhound track. The story begins as Jim spies an ad in the paper’s lonely hearts column and arranges to meet Charlotte a rich sophisticated English woman and they start a relationship together. The story sees the ups and downs of their romance and I wouldn’t want to give too much of the story away here as I doubt very few of you will have seen it. It really is a lovely short film with a simple tale of a couples affair. If that all sounds a wee bit too soppy for you then you will be able to console yourselves with the fantastic soundtrack of Pogues classics and that Shane MacGowan And The Popes make a brilliant appearance as a pub band playing live in what looks like The Canterbury Arms in Brixton. The boys including the late, and sorely missed, Tommy McManamon on banjo and Paul Mad Dog’ McGuinness on guitar give a great version of The Old Main Drag’. Lovely characterisation of how London can be a very lonely place and then a totally unexpected and sharp twist that come’s from absolutely nowhere that even M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of. A totally unique film showing London Irish life when it still dominated huge parts of London. The simple story of romance that, at first, has you failing to see what the story of the film was hiding!

Everyone I have asked has no re-collection of this film so watch it now on the YouTube link provided. The film has been uploaded from an old VHS video so the quality is not as we are use to these days but is still easily watchable and the sound is perfect. As is the way with these sort of things they have a habit of coming and going off air so if it does go down leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to fix it. That is until someone sorts out an official release which unfortunately doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any day soon.

(thanks to Øyvind Lade for sending us the link when we couldn’t find it- we had the name of the film wrong would you believe!!)

The Pogues

*if you’re interested in The Pogues we have a multitude of great articles on them-

‘From Oppression To Celebration- The Pogues And The Dropkick Murphys And Celtic Punk’ here 

‘A Wee Biography Of Shane MacGowan’  here 

‘30492-London Celtic Punks Top Twenty Celtic-Punk Albums Of All Time’ here

‘Film Review: If I Should Fall From Grace With God- The Shane MacGowan Story’  here

‘Book Review: Irish Blood, English Heart- Second Generation Irish Musicians In England’  here

Red Roses For Me And Me  here

The Best Pogues Related Sites

In The Wake Of The Medusa * Paddy Rolling Stone * The Parting Glass * Pogues Facebook Page

For me though the best place on the internet for The Pogues is this unofficial group on Facebook (here) all the diverse views you would expect from a bunch of people who follow The Pogues. Be sure and join up won’t you?

FILM REVIEW: THE MOLLY MAGUIRES (1970)

“maybe its my Christian heart but I never could stand the sight of a man carrying a cross”

The Molly Maguires

Growing up in England the opportunities to express pride in your Irish roots were very few and far between. The rare moments would come along, we had St Patrick’s Day, Celtic, our pubs and clubs and church and lets face it very little else. On the TV we were a figure of ridicule and nightly we were informed that the people sat right next to us in our living rooms were thick and stupid and steeped in superstition or dangerous and drunkards or trying to bring down the rule of law and that ordinary folk should inform the authorities of anything suspicious among the Irish community. Innocent people were sent to jail with little more evidence of guilt than their accents or their family backgrounds. With that going on in the background we learnt our history at home and among our family, friends and neighbours but one of the defining moments of my childhood was watching The Molly Maguires as a kid. It ticked all the necessary boxes for a young 2nd gen Irish lad with a identity crisis. Not only did it portray the Irish outside of Ireland and showed how badly they were treated and exploited but, and most importantly of all, how rather than except their fate and roll over they resisted that oppression and fought back, even though eventually it end in tragedy. The Molly Maguires were a secret society of militant Irish Catholic coal miners who resisted violence from the mine owners with violence themselves. The film is based on real events and the gripping story is a sympathetic and accurate depiction of the struggle for justice of the Irish-American miners.

CREW

Cinematography- James Wong Howe * Director- Martin Ritt * Music- Henry Mancini * Producer- Paramount Pictures

CAST

Sean Connery as “Black Jack” Kehoe * Richard Harris as Detective James McParlan/McKenna * Samantha Eggar as Miss Mary Raines * Frank Finlay as Police Captain Davies * Anthony Zerbe as Tom Dougherty * Bethel Leslie as Mrs. Kehoe * Art Lund as Frazier * Philip Bourneuf as Father O’Connor * Anthony Costello as Frank McAndrew * Brendan Dillon as Dan Raines, Mary’s Father * Frances Heflin as Mrs. Frazier * Malachy McCourt as The Bartender

Running time 123 minutes

“You either end up on the gallows or coughing your lungs out, what’s the difference?”

With the Great Hunger still vivid in the minds of the newly arrived Irish immigrants to America as they spread across the country, many of them washed up in Pennsylvania coal country where they became miners. The mine workers were treated abysmally and most died young of diseases picked up in the mines or in the ghetto’s that surrounded them. The years between ‘Black 47’ and the depression of 1920-21 saw great turmoil in industrial America. Violent confrontation between workforces and bosses over poor working conditions and even poorer wages, as well as the threat of workers uniting in trade unions, were common in the cities and the coal fields that fuelled them. The promise of work for the unskilled and a better life drew large numbers of Irish people to north-eastern Pennsylvania. The choice for the poorest of the Irish poor was the coal mine. They came mostly from west Ulster and north Connacht. The Irish didn’t confine themselves to coal but to get the black gold to New York and Philadelphia they also dug canals as well as building embankments, tunnelling and laying track. But more than anything, the Irish dug coal. A Mayo-man looking round a coalfield is quoted at the time as saying

“Do you mean to tell me that this is America?”

In 1880, the ‘foreign-born’ accounted for 23% of the region’s population and Ireland was the birthplace of 41% of those, the figure underestimates the Irish as many would have been born in America, England and Scotland. It is thought well over 30% of the regional population would have been Irish. These were dark times of persecution for Irish Catholics and they were not to get better by crossing the Atlantic. These were the men and women who built America. A people who had escaped poverty and death only to find a world where they were still enslaved the only difference being the company had replaced the empire.

The Molly Maguires

We have no idea exactly when The Molly Maguires came into existance but they gained prominance in the mine fields in the years around 1860. They were a militant secret cell within the open catholic organsisation the Ancient Order of Hibernians. With no organized labour movement to speak of it became the Mollys who were the only protection those miners had. Protection was needed from anti-Catholic and anti-Irish discrimination, more than any other race they were used as scapegoats on whatever stage their enemies deemed fit. Irish working men started organising together while the, predominantly protestant, mine owners organised a paramilitary force to take them on. Violently breaking strikes and trade unions. Strikers and activists were sacked and evicted, their jobs and houses given to scabs, and ‘troublemakers’ often attacked and killed. In return the miners engaged in sabotage. Mines were flooded, breakers burned, stores dynamited and trains derailed. Mine bosses, superintendents and foremen, generally of English, Welsh or German extraction, were intimidated and killed and blacklegs and informers in the Irish community were ruthlessly punished. The rebellion came to an end with the execution of twenty people rounded up as Molly Maguires. They bravely went to the scaffold without betraying themselves or their comrades. The majority of the twenty had links to the same part of Ireland in west Donegal. At the time and right up until modern times (possibly around the time this film was made) the twenty men hanged as Molly Maguires in north eastern Pennsylvania were either valiant defenders of labour or

“the most noted band of cut-throats of modern times”

That controversy has ended and its clear now to all that the hanged men were innocent victims of a terrible miscarriage of justice.

So the stage was set in 1969 with radical politics and a vision of a better life for all not just a distant memory for a film to be based on The Molly Maguires to be made. In 1967 Director Martin Ritt was making ‘Hombre’ in which Scots-Irish actor Sean Connery’s then wife Diane Cilento was cast. Ritt had the idea for The Molly Maguires and asked Connery what he thought. Connery was interested but it took over four years to get the film off the ground. Both director Martin Ritt and screenwriter Walter Bernstein had been blacklisted by major studios in the communist scare of the 1950s.

leader of the Mollys Jack Kehoe

leader of the Mollys
Jack Kehoe

The film is dirty and relentless and coal dust gets everywhere.  It was filmed in the abandoned Pennsylvania coal town of Ecksley, a place where the Mollys were active in their day, that adds credibility and authenticity to the picture. The colliery still stands along with the Emerald House pub, the company store and all the Mollys homes. A frighteningly impressive Sean Connery plays Jack Kehoe, the leader of the Mollys, while Richard Harris plays James McParlan. Kehoe is suspicious of McPharlan when he arrives to work at the mines but over time he begins to trust and allows him to join the Mollys and take part in their activities. Unbeknown to Kehoe, McPharlan is in fact working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency and has been sent to infiltrate and destroy the Mollys. The film is basically a clash between two ways of life. McPharlan who is willing to sell out and betray anyone to rise in class and Kehoe who puts the interests of his community first and is prepared to sacrifice all for the benefit of others. As McPharlan states in the film

“I’m tired of always looking up. I want to look down”

The history of Ireland has unfortunately been plagued with informers. People seduced by wealth or promises of land and power or simply those with no conscious they are rightly despised by all  to but we Irish have a special disdain for them. The story as told in the film sticks closely to the truth of what happened and is as gripping and well made a piece of radical cinema as has ever been made. From the soundtrack to the costumes and location and acting the film is dazzling and is today considered a masterpiece, and deservedly so, which makes it incredible to think it bombed so badly upon release. It put paid for a time the idea that either Connery or Harris would make leading men. In the critics minds the wordless 15 minute prologue as well as the decision to not let Sean Connery speak until 45 minutes into the movie couldn’t have helped.

Maguire1

Connery and Harris

There were no ‘Marquis of Queensbury’ rules in early industrial America. Decent people sometimes did terrible things. They still do. It is the way of the world. The Irish fought oppression first with dynamite and powder and then with political power. Soon the Irish were to rise to all levels of political influence and the old guard were dispensed with. Martin Ritt thought the films financial failure being down to audiences being unable to decide whether Jack Kehoe or Jim McParlan was the hero.

“They should have understood, that Kehoe, who was a murderer, was the hero of the film”

In another interview Ritt acknowledged that life was changing and some of the decent values that America was built on were also changing.

“I wanted to show that the villain in the film was the informer, a man who wormed his way into the graces of his fellow workers and then turned them in. To me that is a villainous act. And in the American tradition, an informer is a villainous person, although those ethics have been somewhat undermined by the hysteria of the communist scare”

In 1970, Middle America couldn’t accept Kehoe as the hero he has now become. As the films ends and with McParlan’s true identity revealed, he visits Kehoe in prison. It is a significant moment between the two of them, ending a relationship based on trust and bringing to the fore the differences between them. The final image that imposes McParlan against the gallows he has helped to build emphasises that we have an awful lot to be grateful for free men that will stand against oppression and fight back. Their is no Hollywood here. What the Mollys gave was their all. Their is no romance just two solid hours of an uncompromising and heartbreaking look into what working people have had to endure. Our job now is to make sure those conditions never return.

(the following clip is the final scene of the movie so don’t watch if you haven’t seen the whole film!)

Molly Maguires SoundtrackThe Molly Maguires Soundtrack

Composed, Arranged and Conducted

by Henry Mancini

For the film, composer Henry Mancini composed one of his finest musical scores, filled with jaunty Irish tunes and roaring dramatic evocative themes. Whether depicting early morning at the mines (the astonishing opening cue) or the resistance activities or the blossoming love affair, Henry Mancini’s score is right up there with his greatest soundtracks including such masterpieces as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, Days of Wine and Roses, Hatari!, Two For The Road and many others. amazingly it doesn’t appear to be available on CD anywhere.

Tracks

(click on the tracks in green to hear them)

Theme from The Molly Maguires (New Day in 1876)
The Mollys Strike
Main Title
Room and Board
Sandwiches and Tea
Work Montage
Pennywhistle Jig
A Hard Day’s Work
On Your Knees
Jamie and Mary
Trip to Town
Strike Two/Strike Three
The Hills of Yesterday
There’s More
The Mollys Strike Again
A Suit for Grandpa
Kehoe Lights Up/The Last Strike
The End

Buy The Film

plenty of places on the web or try Amazon  AllYourMusic as a last resort!

The Soundtrack

is out of print but since this article came out I have been sent a download link for it. Rather than put it here I will include it as a comment as these things have a habit of being taken down. So check the comments and download this rather brilliant album.If it does disappear leave a comment and we’ll try and upload it again.

Molly Maguires statue by Zenos Frudrakis in Molly Maguires Memorial Park, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, USA

Molly Maguires statue by Zenos Frudrakis in Molly Maguires Memorial Park, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, USA

FILM REVIEW: ‘The Offence’ (1972)

“after 20 years, what Detective-Sergeant Johnson has seen and done is destroying him”

The Offence4

When I was a helluva lot younger than I am now I came across a film late one night hidden among the schedules. Strangely it starred the great Sean Connery which made me even more surpised that a film starring the biggest actor of our time could be hidden away with no fanfare so, intriged, I settled down for exactly what I wasnt sure. ‘The Offence’ finds two of Scotland’s greatest ever actors in a stripped-down, rough and tough little movie that pits his hard bitten veteren detective against the late Ian Bannen’s child molester suspect. The battle of wits between the two breaks only to look at the cop’s equally distressing marital life. Yes, a tough film to watch but incredible to marvel at the sheer power of Sean Connery’s performance as the driven yet ambivalent detective. Both Connery and Bannen are at their darkest best in this deeply disturbing film that examines exactly what men might be capable of doing if they are pushed to the edge.

“nothing I have done can be one half as bad as the thoughts in your head”

Somewhere just outside of London, 1973: Detective Sergeant Johnson (Sean Connery) is a burnt-out British police detective of some twenty years in the force and one of the lead detectives working towards the capture of a serial child molester who is menacing the satellite town which he calls home. Johnson is an abrasive man who is barely able to contain his simmering resentment towards his lack of promotion, the superiors whom he considers to be witless and a loveless marriage. His animosity towards the world is driven to breaking point when he crosses swords with Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen), a successful family man who becomes a suspect in the investigation. Over the course of one night, events come to a violent head whilst Baxter is in police custody; but what precipitated the violence? And what was the real motivation behind the offence?

The Offence

Sean Connery

‘The Offence’ is an important film for two reasons: Firstly, it was one of the first widely released theatrical films featuring a major star to deal with the subject of child molestation (and it’s consequences) in a popular medium; and secondly it is one of about three films where the audience is treated to the sight of Sean Connery ACTOR rather than Sean Connery MOVIE STAR. For my money, Connery , though a great actor he had, post-Bond, coasted through the majority of his career playing a caricature of his 007 persona and who only ever really got to flex his acting chops to the max in two films – ‘The Offence’ and ‘The Hill’, both of which were directed by the late, great Sidney Lumet. Personally speaking, this film pips ‘The Hill’ (which is similarly brilliant) to the post for me because Connery as an actor expresses a degree of emotional vulnerability and psychological fragility that we were never to see again. It’s fairly apparent that post-Bond, Connery was attempting to shrug off the cast typing of Ian Fleming’s character once and for all, and his bravery as an actor here is formidable. His thinning hairline is, for the first time in his career exposed to the world for all to see and the charismatic calmness and composure of Bond is nowhere to be seen beneath Johnson’s moustache, sheepskin jacket, hat and tirades of blunt accusations.

“in this room you discover something like the truth about yourself”

The Offence

Sean Connery

But there is far more to this film than just Connery’s performance. The screenplay, brilliantly adapted for the screen from the stage by John Hopkins, remains the most disturbingly brilliant examination of a man succumbing to what we would now call ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ that has ever been committed to film. It is all the more impressive because it is told in a way in which the audience first observes the aftermath of the offence itself without context; then the context of the situation; and finally the devastatingly catastrophic interrogation that immediately precipitates the offence itself.

“why ain’t you beautiful? You’re not even pretty”

Lumet as a director perfectly captures the soullessness of England’s then burgeoning ‘satellite’ new towns – vast, monolithic, semi-industrialized estates of office buildings, clone homes, motorways and underpasses which were constructed in the home counties in order to house the overflow population of London – using a drab pallet of rainy greys, caustic strip lighting, and shadow. No other film has ever rendered the experience of living in one of these towns so effectively. The movie took just one month to film, at the low cost of $1 million and despite this and excellent notices, it failed to make any profit for nine years, and went unreleased in several countries including the major market of France.

Ian Bannen

Ian Bannen

This troubling psychological thriller is the kind of film that, for the most part, just doesn’t get made any more by big budget studios that are more interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator in pursuit of big bucks than telling an original story. It’s intelligent, erudite, understated, subtle and profoundly disturbing. An extremely tough film to watch but just marvel at the sheer power of Connery’s performance as the driven yet ambivalent detective.

(you can watch The Offence below. If the link goes down then please leave a comment below but sometimes theres not a lot we can do)

Language: English   Year: 1972   Runtime: 112 minutes

Eureka Video have re-released The Offence as part of their Masters Of Cinema collection. You can find Eureka here.

Buy The DVD

DirectFromEureka  Amazon  Play.Com

a great link to watch the movie can be found here.

FILM REVIEW: TAX CITY (2013)

Tax City

written and produced by Andy Nolan
directed by Tom Begley
starring Jon Campling, Steve Collins, Mark Hutchinson, Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, Tony Barber and Emily Hall
http://www.clanlondonmovie.com

Tax City is a muscular drama directed by London based Irish-born Tom Begley and written and produced by Andy Nolan. Andy plays accordion in celtic-rockers The Bible Code Sundays who have been a permanent fixture on the London Irish scene for a good few years now. Set back in 1990s’ London, Tax City follows the sensational comeback of rock star Johnny Costa (Jon Campling), his tragic fall from grace and his perilous fight for survival on the streets of London. Costa is forced to confront Fintan, the brutal leader of a real life, Irish-dominated Taxing Squad gang that preys on the homeless community. Starring an outstanding star-studded cast including former world boxing champion Steve Collins and a member of one of the biggest movie franchises ever. A never before look at ‘cardboard city’ gives a thought-provoking look at how one act of desperation can change the lives of a family, friends and community.

TaxCity Facebook  ClanLondon Facebook

Official video for The Thinker taken from the album Elephant In the Room released 17th Nov 2014

‘Elephant In the Room’ iTunes

http://www.ronanmacmanus.com/

FILM REVIEW: IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE- THE SHANE MacGOWAN STORY (1997)‏

Directed by Sarah Share

Cinematography by Colm Whelan

Editing by Orla Daly

Ireland, 2001, colour, 91 min.

Shane MacGowan- If I Should Fall From Grace With God

click on the picture to watch. if the link doesn’t work please leave a comment and we’ll fix it soon as we can

IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE is a candid portrait and artistic overview of Ireland’s ‘punk poet laureate’ that traces the singer-songwriter’s life from his childhood in Ireland, through his troubled teenage years in London, on into his explosion on the punk music scene fronting the Pogues and beyond. On a deeper level, the documentary examines distinctly Irish themes of the diaspora and displacement, anti-Irish racism, ‘the Troubles’, Irish Nationalism, Alcoholism, the legacy of Irish folk music and culture, and the Faustian price paid for artistic genius. Did I mention that it has some of the finest songs ever written? Featuring insightful commentary from his closest friends, family members and collaborators, and at once heart-breaking and inspiring, the film suggests that despite the hard road taken, MacGowan has yet to fall from grace.

Never forgetting that his family’s land in Ireland is his true spiritual home, young Shane MacGowan found himself uprooted at an early age when his parents moved to London for work. Suffering from displacement and the anti-Irish sentiment of his new environment, MacGowan found acceptance and community in London’s emerging punk subculture and quickly realized that playing traditional Irish Republican fight songs to a frenetic rock beat was perhaps the most punk rock thing one could do in the anti-Irish climate of England in the 1970s and 80s. At once a poet in the ancient Irish folk tradition; a mesmerizing performer; a godfather of British punk; a contemporary songwriting genius in the tradition of Cave, Dylan, Reed, and Waits; and a fierce Republican fighter with the soul of a hopeless tragic romantic, the film is testament that popular music will not see the likes of Shane MacGowan’s magic again. Long may he play!

FILM REVIEW: GOOD VIBRATIONS (2013)

By Gerard Mellon
Writers: Colin Carberry (screenplay),  Glenn Patterson (screenplay)
Directors: Lisa Barros D’Sa  Glenn Leyburn
Stars: Jodie Whittaker  Liam Cunningham  Dylan Moran
Terri Hooley

Terri Hooley

If you haven’t seen Good Vibrations yet you should. It’s the story of Terri Hooley the Godfather of NI punk. After opening a record shop a few doors down from Belfast’s Europa hotel ( Europe’s most bombed building ) he stumbles upon a gig by Rudi and has what only can be described as an epiphany!! He decides to start a label so bands from Northern Ireland can get their music heard more widely. So Good Vibrations record label was born and the rest as they say is history.

The makers have re-created 70s/80s Belfast brilliantly with the drab grey/beige colours everywhere . The main actors are perfectly cast , Richard Dormer plays Hooley with a twinkle in his glass eye.

good1They bring to life tales of tours to the middle of nowhere , records released without any discs in the sleeves and some nasty skin bastards who haven’t a clue what they’re missing.

A feel good movie with a feel great soundtrack , it shows why some of the best punk ever produced came out of the wee six counties. There’s a hilarious cameo from Martin Cowan and Petesy Burns could have found himself a whole new career. Older punks like myself will revel in the nostalgia and younger ones can see where it all started for some of our greatest bands .

Honestly you just have to get this movie get a few cans turn the telly up LOUD and enjoy!!!!

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