Perrier’s Bounty (2009)

Film review: Perrier’s Bounty (2009), directed by Ian Fitzgibbon

perriersbountyMichael McCrea (Cillian Murphy) is, for want of a better term, a perpetual loser. He doesn’t really do anything with his life, and doesn’t seem to want to do anything either. He is, on the other hand, chased by a couple of goons – Ivan (Michael McElhatton) and Orlando (Don Wycherley) – because he owns crime boss Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) money.

Michael tries to borrow money of a man known as “The Mutt” (Liam Cunningham), but instead get to come along and break into someone’s home. After coming back, his suicidal neighbour Brenda (Jodie Whittaker), freshly dumped by her two-timing boyfriend (Padraic Delaney), accidentally shoots Orlando the goon … and in the middle of all this, his dying father (Jim Broadbent) shows up, and they go on a roadtrip into the hills outside Dublin to get rid of the body.

Perrier isn’t happy that one of his goons has died. He puts out a bounty on Michael … so the way back to the city is chequered, to say the least.

Also featuring Gabriel Byrne as the voice of The Reaper, Domhnall Gleeson as Clifford, with Brendan Coyle (!!!) and Conleth Hill as fighting dog owners Jerome and Russ.

Isn’t it nice when films take you by surprise? This is a gangster comedy from Ireland (although mostly shot in London, which was cheaper) and while some plot points were same-ol’ same-ol’, there were a few unexpected turns as well, most of which had me laughing out loud. The level of comedy is generally very dark, just how I like it.

We see a group of seemingly hard men with their big, hard dogs (Rottweilers, German Shepherds, you get the idea) at several points, and the first time, I thought “hey, is that Brendan Coyle?!” but it was such a quick flash I couldn’t be sure. Turned out that it was! Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of screen time. Then again, I (sadly) wasn’t entirely convinced by him or his friend anyway, so I wouldn’t call that a loss.

Michael’s dad shows up to tell his son that he’s dying … and later on, we find out how and why. Hilarity ensues. No, really. It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s true, nonetheless. Broadbent is a consistently great performer, so seeing him in the film was nice. Same goes for Brendan Gleeson, for that matter.

It’s a quirky sort of film. You don’t know exactly who the characters are, as in, you think they’re one sort of person and it turns out that nope, they’re not exactly who you think they were. The conflict between Michael and his parents, for instance, and the reason why they’ve not spoken to each other in years was nowhere near where I thought it would be.

But yeah, for a gritty black comedy about owing money to a crime boss who really wants his money back … this is good, if at times a bit violent, fun. Perrier’s Bounty is unexpected, but that’s what makes it fresh and sets it aside from all the other gangster films.

4 out of 5 stolen cars.

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