Megan Clark | Where’s the Craic?
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 01:10
The black comedy/chase film “Perrier’s Bounty” (2009) focuses on an everyman hero named Michael McCrea. When we first meet Michael, he is having a rough go of things. He’s in love with a woman who is in love with another man who’s cheating on her, he’s estranged from his parents and, oh yeah, some mobsters are going to break his legs if he doesn’t repay his loan to their boss, Perrier, within 24 hours. Twenty minutes in, Michael’s love interest is suicidal and depressed, his father has appeared with news of his impending death and he is on the run from both the mobsters, who now want to kill him, and the police.
Filmed in 2009 and directed by Ian Fitzgibbon, “Perrier’s Bounty” stars Cillian Murphy as Michael. Murphy has played supporting roles in several American movies — he was the creepy Dr. Crane in “Batman Begins” (2005) and the also kind of creepy object of dream tampering in “Inception” (2010). In Irish films, he usually has a starring role, is not at all creepy and even appears drastically different — dare I say handsome? “Perrier’s Bounty” also features Jim Broadbent as Michael’s father and Brendan Gleeson as Perrier. While Murphy plays the straight man character very well, the real comedic genius in this movie is Broadbent, who plays Michael’s father, Jim, as a confused and oblivious man who is full of surprising insights.
Most of the comedy in the film is created by the addition of more and more problems in Michael’s life until the confluence of all these problems becomes ridiculous. Michael is eventually forced to go on the run with his father — who is convinced that he was visited by the Grim Reaper and is going to die if he falls asleep — and his love interest, Brenda, who is distraught over her break−up with her boyfriend.
While the high speed of the movie contributes to its humor and suspense, the quieter moments of the film establish the voice of the characters to hilarious effect. For instance, during a scene in which Michael, Brenda and Jim are hiding out in a barn, Jim describes his visit from the Grim Reaper. When asked why he did not try to solicit clearer answers from the Grim Reaper, Jim responds that “certain things, [the Grim Reaper] likes to leave obscure and enigmatic.” Jim then quotes the Grim Reaper’s explanation for his vagueness: “That’s my way, man.” This line is repeated frequently throughout the film.
The movie is narrated by a straight−forward individual who sounds like a guy you would encounter at a pub. He speaks directly to the audience, as if we were his drinking buddies. The revelation of the narrator’s identity at the end of the film contributes an extra layer of humor to previous scenes.
Eventually, things come to a head and Michael is forced to face Perrier in order to rescue the people he loves. In some ways, all does not end well — this wouldn’t be a proper Irish movie if it did — but in other ways, Michael’s life is greatly improved, as the events of the chase have changed him for the best.
I do take issue with the flippancy with which this film handles suicide. Brenda’s depression is portrayed as more of an annoyance to Michael than a serious issue and dissipates just as quickly as it appeared. However, I like the film as a whole and, due to the film’s humor and pacing, I can recommend this movie to anyone who appreciates dark humor and action.
Next week we will switch our focus to drama in order to cover the biopic “Michael Collins” (1996).
Megan Clark is a junior majoring in history. She can be reached at Megan.Clark@tufts.edu.