A coming of age story set in 1975 working-class Brooklyn, in which two teenage brothers living with their abusive father and their well-meaning but ineffective mother are caught up in a life of petty crime. Older brother Danny concocts a daring scheme to steal enough money for the two to escape, timed around the chaos of an upcoming Rolling Stones concert. The sensitive younger brother, Brian, ultimately has a choice: remain loyal to the brother with whom he shares a powerful love-hate bond, or use his hidden talent as an artist as his own ticket out of their dead-end existence.
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Some will say that the reason I loved this movie so much is because I am in fact White, Irish and occasionally known to be a Drinker - but the truth is even if I wasnâ€™t all of those glorious things, Iâ€™d still be singing this filmsâ€™ praises. I loved this movie!
This film, like many other amazing independent films with little to no budget behind them, will probably go unnoticed amidst the deafening sound of typical Hollywood crap polluting the airwaves with their â€˜paint by numbersâ€™ style fare that rarely takes risks, challenges the audience or dares to explore complex relationships with no clear villain to attack. Now, donâ€™t get me wrong I like a lot of big budget films but I truly love smaller films like this.
The experience of watching a movie like this harkens back to the days before DVDâ€™s and Blu-rayâ€™s; an experience that you feel only happens in the theater and only for a select few people who come to that theater to see it. And once itâ€™s gone, itâ€™s gone. (Of course this will be on DVD in a few months but when youâ€™re watching it you almost forget that thatâ€™s true.)
White Irish Drinkers is a fantastic film that is part Good Will Hunting and part Black Irish. It tells the story of an Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn in 1975. Newcomer Nick Thurston plays Brian Leary the youngest boy and well known as the sensitive â€˜good son,â€™ Geoff Wigdor is his older â€˜troubledâ€™ brother Danny, the incredibly intimidating and downright scary at times Stephen Lang is their drunken abusive father and rounding out the cast is the wonderful Karen Allen as the mom trying desperately to hold everything together.
Does it sound like a movie youâ€™ve seen already, sure â€“ but it really isnâ€™t. The character development is so rich and the performances are so outstanding that I felt as though I knew this family. The Irish Family archetypes are all very familiar but never become stereotypical or predictable.
Filmed entirely on location in Brooklyn it was amazing to see how easy it was to avoid any signs of change or progress from the mid 1970â€™s until today. I mean the camera would pan down streets, shoot from rooftops or in the fronts and backs of buildings and never once did I feel like this was any other decade. (Note to Brooklyn though, while itâ€™s great for movies ya might wanna consider updating a littleâ€¦ just sayinâ€™)
I canâ€™t say enough good things about Nick Thurston; I mean talk about an up and coming actor that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. The complexity that he brings to Brian with so many levels of anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, depression and most amazingly, love, were phenomenal to experience. A lot of people donâ€™t understand how we Irish get along. Fights that in other families or cultures which would mean the complete severing of familial ties forever, for us could just mean a rough next day, a veiled understood non vocal apology and thatâ€™s all. Nick seems to get this and plays his role accordingly.
Heâ€™s also absolutely adorable until his â€˜Superman shirt peel offâ€™ reveal of a sick body that pushes him from â€˜adorable guy you wanna hugâ€™ to â€˜super-hot guy you wannaâ€¦â€™ well, you get the idea.
Co-star Geoff Wigdor has the harder task of playing the tormented and often times tormenting older brother who stills loves his little brother but has so many issues of his own that makes it nearly impossible for him to show it. I loved watching this relationship on screen because it is so rare that we see something like this. Rarely is a bond between brothers that isnâ€™t simple love or hate truly explored on film. And itâ€™s even more of a rarity to find it done to such wonderful affect.
The performances turned in by both Stephen Lang and Karen Allen are without a doubt award worthy. For anyone who grew up with parents in a similar circumstance you will see it reflected here. I was very fortunate to have grown up with an amazing dad but Stephenâ€™s portrayal of Paddy reminded me of a lot of different people I knew growing up and I saw a lot of my mom in Karenâ€™s Margaret as well.
There is of course also a charming love story with Leslie Murphy and some really funny scenes with Brianâ€™s friends as they face the future barreling down on them; so in that sense it is also very much a coming-of-age film that everyone can relate to.
The time warp sensation of no cell phones, internet or even computers is a trippy element to the movie as well because itâ€™s not so long ago that itâ€™s what we would think of as a â€˜period pieceâ€™ but it is a completely different world from what we are now accustomed to. I seriously had the urge to bust out the old ColecoVision, drink some Tang and listen to a few 45â€™s when the movie was over.
I hope this movie manages to make its way into the homes and hearts of not only those of us with whom this setting, story and characters resonate but also to those for whom it may appear foreign. Iâ€™m not ashamed to say this movie made me laugh, it made me cheer and it literally made me cry twice (and that especially hasnâ€™t happened in a long time), so Iâ€™m not exaggerating when I say that this truly is an amazing film that deserves to be seen.
If you do see it and you like it even half as much as I did, please do your part and tell your friends! Small wonderful films like this only survive and continue to get made if we the audience show our support for them. So get out there people - DONâ€™T just wait for DVD!!! See this one in a theater; preferably an Art House one if possible!
Please visit www.TheCinemaSource.com for more on this review with photos and INTERVIEWS with the Cast and Filmmakers!!!"