HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
Lina from Lima
   
 
Newest Articles
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
   
 
  Hear My Song Locked Out
Year: 1991
Director: Peter Chelsom
Stars: Adrian Dunbar, Ned Beatty, Adrian Beatty, Shirley Anne Field, Tara Fitzgerald, William Hootkins, David McCallum, Norman Vaughan, James Nesbitt, John Dair, Stephen Marcus, Joe Cuddy, Paddy Cole, Marie Mullen
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Biopic, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Irish pop culture has never been represented well in films. Roddy Doyle adaptations such as The Commitments (1991), The Snapper (1993), and The Van (1996) certainly shone a light on areas not seen by the British, from the Commitments' coda with Bernie singing in a Country and Irish band to Colm Meaney fancying RTE gameshow hostess Theresa Lowe. The fact is that Ireland's film industry up until recently was a continuous wave of fits and starts, usually buoyed by tax exiles. For every Neil Jordan who makes a scathing expose of the showband scene like Angel (1982), there's the international launching point of The Company of Wolves (1984). But there's few films about Irish pop culture. There's no Roscommon Rambler, starring Big Tom McBride as a singing truck driver on the run from dissident gun-runners, and it wasn't until the recent likes of the Hardy Bucks Movie that the idea of the Culchie was fully encapsulated in film, in an authentic manner.

Hear My Song (1991) is odd, when it comes to this. Though by a British director and set mostly in England, its writer/star Adrian Dunbar is from Enniskillen, plays an Irishman, the film is set mainly in the Liverpool Irish community (which aside from Alan Bleasdale's raucous and noisily overblown proto-Phoenix Nights farce No Surrender (1985) and 1957's Violent Playground has been little explored on screen), the lead characters are Irish, and the film was almost entirely shot in Ireland, with Dublin's Westland Row doubling for Liverpool. And most of all, it is a magic realistic fantasy about legendary light-tenor Josef Locke, giving a comeback concert while in tax exile in his native Ireland.

Dunbar plays Mickey O'Neill, an Irish club owner in Liverpool who needs to find an act, pronto, or the club will be shut. While flirting with Nancy (Tara Fitzgerald), he is tipped off by bouncer Derek (stuntman/bit part vet John Dair, in a rare speaking part) and Gordon (Stephen Marcus) to get Josef Locke. After a failed attempt to get customers in with tribute act Franc Cinatra (Irish comic/cabaret crooner/Castlebar Song Contest vet Joe Cuddy), Mickey finds Mr. X (William Hootkins, for once showing his versatility), a Shadow-costumed man of mystery who may or may not be the fugitive Locke. But Mr. X is exposed as a fraud by both Nancy's mother Kathleen (Shirley Anne Field), an ex-lover of Locke's, and Liverpool CID man Abbott (David McCallum, a vet of Violent Playground, at this time flitting across the Atlantic caught between doing notorious BBC flop Trainer and exploitation films and syndicated TV guest spots in the States). Determined to get Locke, O'Neill travels to rural Ireland with old pal Fintan (a young, moustachioed James Nesbitt) to bag Locke (Ned Beatty).

For one thing, the film is a fantasy. There are fantastic magic realism elements there, as per director Chelsom's work (the more outwardly supernatural Funny Bones (1995) is almost a spiritual sequel), but apart from Locke being in exile and the idea of a knockoff act called Mr. X, the whole thing is fiction. Even Locke's Irish retreat, here portrayed as being in a tiny backwater with one pub, somewhere along the West was in real life in suburban Greystones, an odd choice, as Greystones is only a few miles away from the film's studio locations at Ardmore, in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Beatty, nominated for a Golden Globe is a solid presence. His accent isn't great, but it kind of works with the character being this stateless has-been. And everyone is perfectly cast, including Dunbar who is affable as the jokey would-be master of disguise desperate to save his club and his community. Hootkins is wonderfully smarmy, and playing up the blarney in an attempt to disguise, per his real-life counterpart, that he isn't actually Irish.

And the film is full of Irish faces, a pre-Father Ted Frank Kelly and Pat Laffan pop up as taxi drivers, West Brit theatre folk like Aiden Grennell pop up as Brits in flashback, and there's a rather out-of-place cameo from legendary Irish showband saxophonist Paddy Cole as one of Locke's Irish band. Plus as himself, Norman Vaughan, some years past TV fame in The Golden Shot, and indeed the odd film appearance in the likes of Twinky (1970) and Come Play With Me (1977), adding to the weird timeless nature of the film. Coupled with Fitzgerald fashions, the cod-50s atmosphere (almost a parody of Dennis Potter's noir stealings), and the quaint Irish countryside full of Morris Minors and flat caps, it could be any time.

Chelsom colours his world, full of aul wans drinking Guinness. Though set in Liverpool, with Irish accents ahoy, it could easily be Dublin (because it is), while the rural Irish setting is a little cliched, but there's enough details there (i.e. posters in the Gaiety) to make it feel real, that we know that not all Ireland is like this. In an ironic way, it probably illustrates Irish clubland more than it does English clubland, which Chelsom writes a more pointed love letter to in his followup, Funny Bones, about his native Blackpool.
Reviewer: George White

 

This review has been viewed 1704 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: