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Charlie Casanova


Stars: Emmett J. Scanlan, Leigh Arnold, Damien Hannaway, Ruth McIntyre, Tony Murphy, Valeria Bandino, Johnny Elliott.

Director: Terry McMahon

While auteur worship is a an essential of film criticism the reality is that filmmaking is essentially a team effort which, while depending on the director to get the story off the page of the screenplay and onto the screen, also relies on everyone else involved in its making (on and off the set) for the final result.

It’s a tad difficult, for instance, to allot the total visual experience to those directors (and there have been plenty, including some well-known names) who make it a point never to look through the viewfinder and instead leave the ultimate visual effect to the camera operator and cinematographer.

That said, I think I can safely lay the majority of the blame for this near-unwatchable melodrama on its writer and director, Terry McMahon.

The dialogue he gives for Scanlan – overplaying an unredeemingly loathsome character who hogs the screen without achieving any real effect except to elicit sympathy for anyone luckless enough to have to sit through the film – is dire. So too, is the plot, which has sociopath Scanlan making life increasingly hellish for his fellow businessman attendees at a weekend conference whenhe loses it after killing a girl in a hit and run accident while increasingly depending on card tricks to make pointless point(s).

Early on a woman says “I’m not watching this”. I wish I’d listened to her.

Instead, I did my job and watched to the end. It’s possible, I supposes that trendy auteurists might enjoy McMarhon’s ultimately irritating use of shots into mirrors (perhaps they were meant to add ‘depth’ to the shallow story?). Sadly that didn’t work for me.

As tedium set in, I prayed for the invention of a fast-forward button for cinema viewers.

Alan Frank

Ireland 2010. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour.
94 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 27 May 2012