From the outside, Colm (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) would appear to have a stable, content life. He has a managerial job in the city’s docks, a teenage daughter and son, and a kind, loyal wife in Claire (Monica Dolan). But the death of his father causes Colm to look at his life differently. He pulls away from his family, instead finding comfort and companionship with a 19 year old prostitute named Jay (Tom Glynn-Carney), the sexual tension of their relationship brimming beneath the surface.
Writer Mark O'Halloran has penned a couple of the most moving and thought-provoking screenplays we’ve seen in Irish cinema in his collaborations with Lenny Abrahamson – 'Adam & Paul' and 'Garage'. His latest project is a powerful performative piece led by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Tom Glynn-Carney as we try to understand their two very different characters, their respective MOs, where their morality lies, and whether that even matters.
The natural feel of the dialogue is striking, O'Halloran's style is all over it. It’s a slow burner, with director Peter Mackie Burns at times frustratingly insistent on not rushing things (there are far too many shots of the docks, even if Burns is trying to evoke some metaphor). Still, you remain intrigued as to how this is going to play out. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who’s turned in a heap of impressive performances on the stage and screen since his era as Nidge on 'Love/Hate', continues to dazzle. Glynn-Carney, whose recent credits include 'Dunkirk' and 'The King', may be the even more notable name to emerge from this, given his youth and talent. You can see how Colm is hopelessly drawn to Jay as he proves menacing, but attractive, his sensitive nature emerging at the most surprising moments.
Elsewhere, Scott Graham as the son Shane is a brat while Monica Dolan is hugely sympathetic as the caring wife Claire. Its greatest selling point is really in the performances as the film’s themes like masculinity and dysfunctional families prove familiar enough territory when it comes to Irish cinema.
From Friday April 9th, 'Rialto' will be available to watch on various platforms including Barbican Home Cinema, Curzon Home Cinema, Volta and [email protected]