Director: Ian Fitzgibbon (Spin the Bottle)
Writer: Mark O’Rowe
Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Alan Moloney, Stephen Woolley
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleason, Jodie Whittaker
MPAA Rating: 14A
Running time: 88 min.
Google “Irish Snatch” and I doubt Perrier’s Bounty will be anywhere on your list of hits. Yet, that’s exactly what this little caper film strives to be. Unfortunately without the quality humor, twisted plot or clever script writing. That isn’t to say Perrier’s Bounty is a bad film. It isn’t. But it’s clearly shooting for Guy Ritchie territory and doesn’t quite make it.
The picture opens with Cillian Murphy’s character opening his eyes, after a rough night doing himself in, to a couple of thugs demanding their money for the local mob head (Brendan Gleason) – much like the opening to The Big Lebowski. In this case though, Cillian actually does owe the money; unfortunately for him however, he doesn’t have it. Visiting the local pool hall, he’s hooked up with a couple of rather unsavory characters who bring him in on a planned heist. Shortly before the heist is scheduled to take place, Cillian’s father shows up and informs him that he’s dying of cancer. Of course things go astray during the heist and along with the heartbroken girl from downstairs tagging along for the night as she refuses to be left alone, Cillian and father embark on an adventure of sorts in an effort to get the money, get the bad guy, avoid the cops and somehow manage to stay alive.
The movie is ultimately fairly forgettable and excrutiatingly safe. At no point did I really feel any sort of urgency or impending doom for our characters. And even if there were, I’m not too sure I would’ve ultimately cared all that much. The thrilling moments are filled with far too much levity and bumbling horseplay to honestly feel that much in the way of anything overly horrific or dark is about to happen.
Having said that, the draw here is certainly the main cast. Cillian Murphy in wannabe street thug mode is a relative joy throughout and Jim Broadbent appearing as the fairly mal-adjusted father with a mean streak is of
course always fun. Brendan Gleason is almost always a good thing to have in your film and with Perrier’s Bounty this is no exception. Playing the head mob figure with a social heart of gold is quite good entertainment; but again, not really anything we haven’t seen before… many times. Jodie Whitaker in the side-kick role was almost a distraction as throughout 50% of her screen time I kept thinking to myself, “where do I know this chick from?” Then it hit me, she made her big splash in 2006 opposite Peter O’Toole in Venus. Then I spent a good deal of the rest of my time trying to figure out where she’s been since then. At any rate, she pulls her weight with the rest of the cast and while the story, drama and action aren’t all that compelling, she’s equally enjoyable to watch on screen as any of the other main characters.
So while not particularly engaging on any sort of emotional level, the cast makes it fun enough to at least be an entertaining popcorn movie that is a fun time at the theater. Just be prepared for a picture that strives to be something more than it is which is rather frustrating as a little bit more complex of a script could’ve actually made the film a bit more engaging. The actors involved and indeed the director are obviously more than capable of handling a film with a little bit more heady material. So while this is just another mere footprint in the neverending string of these types of films released over the past few years, Perrier’s Bounty is still a good perch for this up and coming director and screenwriter (who I come to expect a lot from considering his previous film, Boy A).