Title: Perrier’s Bounty
Studio/Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Principle Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jodie Whittaker, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson
Length: 88 minutes
Perrier’s Bounty is an action-packed crime comedy, a “rogue urban western” with a dark, funny script written by Mark O’Rowe and filled with snappy, irreverent dialogue including lots of feckin’ cursing, man!
Savage canine vernacular is a metaphor for the brutality of men in this Irish art house film that is as much about the reconnection of an estranged father/son relationship as it is with violence and death and an often amusing look at taking the piss out of the slick sadistic crime genre.
Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy) is a young waster who’s in over his head from the opening scene. The voice of a very cynical and jaded grim reaper (Gabriel Byrne) introduces him to the audience and lets us know that after a night of excessive imbibing and what is likely a brain-crushing hangover, McCrea is in for even worse. The camera pans to two thugs, Ivan and Orlando (who we later find out are lovers), who have come to collect money that Michael was supposed to earn from hustling, and threaten to start breaking his bones if he doesn’t come up with $1,000 before “Perrier’s judgment comes down.”
Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) is a Dublin gangster who prides himself on being sensitive to the emotions of others; in fact, he’s a walking oxymoron. Brendan Gleeson is an extraordinary force as an actor and manages to give the thugs he plays an undeniable charm (In Bruges). His facial expressions alone in this movie are enough reason to watch it!
In the meantime, Michael’s friend and neighbour Bren(da) (Jodie Whittaker) is delusional about her cheating, wanker boyfriend Shamie and doesn’t want to give up on him which makes her blind to the affections of Michael. When Michael hides a gun in his grungy apartment, Bren takes it and decides to kill herself with it after the loser boyfriend breaks up with her as a result of Michael’s vehement insistence.
Other neighbourhood wasters include two guys with killer Rottweilers and a group of brutish men who all loiter about the neighbourhood with similar attack dogs who are constantly straining to break free of their leashes.
Michael hasn’t seen his father, the neurotic, trigger-happy Jim (brilliantly played by Jim Broadbent) in four years after falling out with both of his parents who’d since split up. Jim shows up out of the blue declaring that he’s dying and wants to mend their estranged relationship. Michael, not knowing what to say to his father, decides to seek out a lowlife loan shark called The Mutt (Liam Cunningham) for a loan to pay his debt and ends up involved in a robbery/blackmail scheme that could leave him €$10,000 richer. However, with Murphy’s Law in active play in Michael’s life, he ends up getting deeper and deeper into peril. Things go from bad to worse as Michael, Bren and Jim go on the lam after Bren saves Michael from having his legs broken by shooting Orlando and the trio is left to dispose of the body and get the hell out of Dublin.
The seedy underbelly of Dublin stands out in both the scenery and the way the men in this movie talk, although I’m sure O’Rowe took some literary license with his script as not all Irish people swear uncontrollably with every other word. It also features a cool score but a mediocre punk/alternative rock soundtrack.
The best scenes in the movie are between Murphy and Broadbent, in particular when Broadbent’s Jim McCrea informs his son that the grim reaper visited him in his bedroom at night and told him that the next time he fell asleep, he would die, so now Jim is doing everything he can – including eating coffee grounds and snorting cocaine – to stay awake.
Perrier’s Bounty is a thoroughly entertaining film and a worthwhile rental for those who enjoy either Quentin Tarantino or Guy Ritchie’s work. While it’s not terribly original, the top notch cast and Irish scenery was reason enough for me to watch it.