Director: John Butler
Cast: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott
Review Author: Adam
Rating: 4/5 cans of cider in a field.
I’m a huge proponent of Irish Film and anything filmed Ireland, so straight off the bat when the first trailer dropped for Handsome Devil and absolutely blew up on our lovely green internet I was excited. I attended a screening with some of the cast last week and my patriotism has completely turned to rampant unwavering support for the message this film has and what its potential impact is for any confused teen out there that may be struggling.
Handsome Devil is the classic ‘school year’ journey story, narration, and pauses jumps forward and jumps back, a great method for showing growth with characters. The genius of this is the wide appeal it has through it’s coming of age tale with a twist if you’re old (I’m not old, I just like cardigans) it brings you right back to your school years and all of the painful, awkward, angsty memories that accompany it. In the crowd with me during the screening was a lot of the school kids from the background scenes and hearing them mutter things to each other and watching them react to the events and message of the film lent amazing perspective. It’s a feel good film, with an important message for the youth, and a painful pang of nostalgia for everyone else.
The cast is excellent in it, considering their age and the subject matter it’s a brave performance from them all. It was shot in just 21 days and Fionn O’Shea had just wandered off the set of Siege of Jadotville to do this film- he had to re-dye his hair for Handsome Devil and then again for reshoots of SOJ- skinhead to painful burning red and back, twice- it took him a year to get his hair back to normal after this film. (it is well ging though!)
The message of the film is ‘be yourself, and don’t conform if it goes against your true nature’ it’s a brave film, I’m even finding this hard to type without spoiling the message but you just absolutely need to sit through it, particularly in the Ireland of 2017. It made me so happy to not be a teenager again, and also slightly jealous in a Kafkaesque way to not be growing up in such an incredibly liberating time for people.
Brian O’Driscoll choreographed the rugby scenes in this film and it’s such an amazing touch, like watching a fight in a Rocky film I was completely sucked in. You can see how nearly a quarter of the film’s production time was dedicated to the Rugby scenes.
Handsome Devil is in cinemas next Friday and it’s definitely the Irish feel-good film of this year so far.
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