x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Perrier's Bounty

Perrier's Bounty is more than passable as a sweetly scripted, smart film.

First there was Intermission. Then there was In Bruges. And now, from a modern urban genre that is best described as 'Celtic Noir', comes Perrier's Bounty, a wacky trawl through Dublin's criminal underworld that is pleasantly entertaining yet never quite as clever, or as funny, as it thinks it is.

Here, we're introduced to penniless everyman Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy, from Batman Begins), a taciturn romantic who harbours feelings for his neighbour Brenda (Jodie Whittaker) and who is ?1,000 in debt to the local gangster Perrier (Brendan Gleeson). When the latter's thugs attempt to break McCrea's legs with baseball bats, Brenda's trigger-happy intervention forces Perrier to place the titular bounty on McCrea's head, and thus kick-starts a zany odyssey in and around the Irish capital.

The film is written by Mark O'Rowe, who is also responsible for the much tighter Dublin crime comedy Intermission (which also starred Murphy), and who happily abandons narrative credibility with this one. Instead, the characters are the thing, and the movie lives or dies depending on how much you appreciate a bestiary of eccentrics that include McCrea's dying father Jim (Jim Broadbent), a hapless wannabe gangster called The Mutt (Liam Cunningham) and even a wily narrator, voiced by Gabriel Byrne, whose wry post-modern asides to the audience feature lines such as, "There's going to be heartbreak 'ere this day is done!"

In the end, there's not much heartbreak, or not even much heart at all. But as an exercise in sweetly scripted, smartly acted screen shenanigans, it's more than passable.