Between The Canals
Set over the course of one day, which just happens to be Paddy's Day, the story sees three small time criminals zip about the city conducting little drug deals, picking fights, enjoying the odd scoop with pretty American tourists and avoiding local head cases (like Damien Dempsey), who is out to settle a score. The unhinged Dots (Peter Coonan) is the muscle of the trio, with the reserved Liam (Dan Hyland) being the brains. Scratchcard (Stephen Jones) is a mixture of the two, happy to align himself with either when it suits him. With an estranged girlfriend and child sitting at home, Liam goes about edging himself away from his two buddies at the behest of a local gangster who promised Liam's dead uncle that he'd look after him, but breaking free on these mean streets is tougher than it sounds.
Using amateur actors, shooting on location in an unnamed north side inner city, and employing a hand-held directing style, first time filmmaker Mark O'Connor gives his film a certain rush, a nervous, raw energy that carries the movie through its almost plotless short running time. Rough around the edges (the budget was minimal) it may be but this, like Savage before it, doesn't hamper the movie but works in its favour by bringing a sense of authenticity. O'Connor's influences are obvious from the off: the first scene sees the manic Dots make a crank call to the police, drawing them into a trap where he plans to tip an old washing machine on to them from the top of the flats; the scene is similar to Scorsese's introduction of De Niro's Johnny Boy in Mean Streets: Dots is a man with no future and who couldn't care less.
But Mean Streets isn't the only influence. La Haine saw three friends barely out of their teens and on the cusp of society wander about their city for one day and Between The Canals follows in the same vein. O'Connor doesn't employ Kassovitz's polished style – there are no 'cool' shots - but in its place is an honesty and realism. Sometimes funny, sometimes violent and sometimes dramatic, Between The Canals won't disappoint.
Review by Gavin Burke | 09:00 | Saturday 15th May 2010 | Movie Review
Really enjoyed this movie. It is a really sad way of life but there is loads of black comedy in there to keep you laughing.Posted 09:24 | Mon 21st Mar 2011
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