Oscar Week Film Review: Dunkirk

Nominated for 8 Oscars, can Chrstopher Nolan’s Dunkirk change my mind about war films…?

“The tide’s turning now.
‘How can you tell?’
The bodies are coming back.”

I’m not really a fan of war films, hence having avoided Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk until now. ‘It’s not a war film’ they said, tempting me to overcome my natural antipathy but they lied. It may not be a conventional war film but it remains a punishing film with a whole lot of war in it and so really not my thing at all.

Nolan is a bravura film-maker, that much is true. And this is an audacious take on a much-filmed, much-explored moment in world history. Free from context, meaningful dialogue, narrative thrust, this becomes a study in the desperate struggle for survival of the Allied forces on that beach in Northern France. And all the waiting they did. Continue reading “Oscar Week Film Review: Dunkirk”

Review: Coolatully, Finborough

“Nobody’s coming to pick you up off that floor. If you lie down then that’s where you’ll stay ‘cause we’ll all be gone soon”

Following Luke Owen’s Unscorched, Louise Monaghan’s Pack and Dawn King’s Foxfinder as the latest winner of the Papatango New Writing contest, Fiona Doyle’s Coolatully proves that a one word title will get you far in this contest, the victorious play receiving a full production here at the Finborough. And perhaps a little surprisingly for a new writing prize, it emerges as a rather conventional piece of Irish drama, its plotting rather schematically spelled out for all to see and little theatrical innovation obviously at work.

Which is a little disappointing as many of the ingredients for a success are present. Doyle’s gift for contemporary characterisation is acutely observed as 27 year old Killian, a former golden child due to his hurling prowess – languishes in the SW Ireland village of Coolatully which has been decimated by the economic crisis. Its young folk (including Eilish, his love interest) are leaving in droves for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, anywhere with jobs and/or good weather and those left behind are struggling, trapped by duties towards parents (Killian) or driven to petty crime (Paudie). Continue reading “Review: Coolatully, Finborough”