In January 1999 a 35-year-old American author, Robert Drake, was viciously assaulted and left for dead by two young men in a house he was renting with his partner in Sligo town. After a court case that sought to demonise Drake as a predatory gay man, his assailants, Glen Mahon and Ian Monaghan, were sentenced to eight years in prison. Drake, unable to speak and confined to a hospital bed, was not present to represent himself at the trial.
Over a decade later, Pamela Drynan’s intimate film follows Drake as he returns to Ireland, and Sligo, for the first time since the attack which left him permanently brain damaged, unable to walk and, crucially, stopped a writing career just as it was beginning to take flight. He visits with Colm Toíbín and Dermot Healy, along with the people who took care of him after the attack, and on the pavement of a Dublin street one afternoon finds his story abruptly coming full circle.
Juxtaposing lyrical imagery, particularly of the Sligo landscape, against a story of mindless brutality, Drynan mines a heartbreaking but life-affirming tale of pointless loss and hard-won redemption, the power of self respect and the complexity of forgiveness.
Brian Finnegan, Editor of GCN