Ireland (Ire/US/UK/Ger/Neth) 2002 : Bruce BERESFORD : 95 mins

Hot on the (sensibly low) heels of The Magdalene Sisters comes another indictment of nasty Irish institutions back in the day. This time it’s the legal system and government that are the main targets, as Guinness-swilling decorator Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) takes on the might of the 1950s Establishment when his daughter Evelyn (Sophie Vavasseur) is taken into care. If the odds are stacked heavily against Doyle, director Beresford faces an even stiffer task: nobody’s pretending Brosnan got the Bond gig for his thesping abilities, and his limitations are painfully exposed alongside the expert likes of Stephen Rea and Alan Bates (as his legal adviser). But the main problem is Paul Pender’s woefully predictable script: encrusted with saccharine-shamrock moments, its simplistic opposition of goodies and baddies as black-and-white as Dessie’s favourite tipple – and much less intoxicating.

7th March, 2003
(seen same day on DVD)

by Neil Young