Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CĂșchulainn of the North Side

Darren Healy stars in "Crush Proof " a mythic parable set in 1998 Dublin. A flawed but ambitious Irish movie set in my home town.

Hooda Neil (Darren Healy) gets out of jail (Mountjoy) and tries to see his son, the mother tries to bar the door of her flat to him, and things rapidly get out of control from there. "Crushproof" travels, mostly on horseback from the decaying concrete of inner city flats to the mean streets of council estates and finally, climactically, out to the wildes of Wicklow.

"Crushproof" is at once another modern story from the underclass of Dublin, a story of an unemployed working class Dublin sociopath in the jaws of the Celtic Tiger, an Irish Dublin Western and a legend of ancient Irish heroes.

The director (Paul Tickell) throws everything including the kitchen sink at the cinematic wall in the hope that something sticks, and surprisingly most do, but there are moments of glaring awkwardness in the script and some dreadful miscasting (specifically Viviana Verveen as Nuala.)

"Crushproof" works well as cinematic metaphor of the harshness of todays Dublin underclass and their dead end lives and our own ancient heroes who fought like lions despite the inevitable violent death. It looks like someone (specifically script writers John Edwards and James Mathers ) finally saw the parable between the "thug" mentality of Dublin's Lumpenproletariat and our own mythic heroic past. You don't really pick up on the parable till some time into the film, but when you do, the story's bone structure grows into the same as you read in many an Irish myth. The comrades in Arms, the forces of the enemy, the destructive female relationships, and the death of the Sun hero, all there. It's a weird surprise but as my mate Marzy will know if he gets around to watching this, the spirit of "Hyla" lives on.

"Crushproof" boasts a good soundtrack and some great performances, however the director tried too many different techniques, as a result of this the film manages to be both stylised and verite at different points depending on what was thought was needed for the scene. Unfortunately the styles do not seamlessly blend. Also in some moments the mixture of the "humour of the damned" and the more serious scenes are juxtaposed to the point of being jarring and not helping the flow of the film.

Still all in all I would give this gets a seven (out of the IMDB's ten) being at once in touch with both our ancient and modern Irish identities. Many, many great and truthful moments, that do not all hang together comfortably as a film. With any luck the spirit of audacity and originality that got this film made will be harnessed for many more, and if that's the case, the Irish film industry has a while to go before it stagnates into a Hollywood like mire of medocrity and banalness.

"Crushproof" is a must see if you're from or living in Dublin, bone jarring truth through parable.

Peace and Hope



Anonymous Marzy said...


6:30 PM  
Blogger fathercrow said...

Weirdly enough Healy (aged 29), of The Cottage, Killegar, Enniskerry pleaded guilty last October to assaulting Mr Philip Bryan causing him harm (and a blood clot) at Eamon Doran's Pub in Temple Bar on June 10, 2005.

After that happened he starred in another Irish movie called "savage" about a middle class guy who gets fucked up by hoods, and then becomes a monster in response to his perceived "not acting like a man"

This guys life and career seem to be in orbit around violence, both fictional and real?

Perhaps he could be trying to redeem himself through his work?

Perhaps not.

Peace and Hope


3:19 PM  

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