A powerful, "fine study of everyday heroism" (VARIETY) and featuring brilliant performances by an all-star cast, Black Irish is haunting and unforgettable. In South Boston, where Irish roots run deep and Catholic traditio... more »n reigns, two brothers face similar hardships but lead far different lives. While older brother Terry descends into drugs and crime, 16-year-old Cole (Michael Angarano) vies to make the state baseball championships--but must struggle to withstand his brother's destructive influence. When the two inevitably clash in a life-and-death confrontation, family ties--and futures--are at stake. DVD FEATURES include a Behind the Scenes of Black Irish and a Commentary Track.« less
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BLACK IRISH is one of those little Independent films that manage to give more to the audience than the extreme constrictions of time and budget would suggest. Writer/director Brad Gunn (his first film) manages to tell a story about an Irish family from South Boston that is sincere, realistic, poignant, and profound, and though he worked with a small budget and a shooting schedule of 22 days, he has produced a fine little gem of a film.
The McKay family has problems: father Desmond (Brendan Glesson) lacks work and spends most of his time drinking beer and watching baseball on TV, having been a promising baseball player as a youngster but nipped by the Vietnam War into glum lethargy; mother Margaret (Melissa Leo) resents the shadow of the man she married and works as a social worker to support her family; daughter Kathleen (Emily VanKamp) is pregnant, unwed, and when denied the choice of abortion by her mother's strong Catholicism is determined to have the child by herself, giving it the loving home she feels she has been denied; son Terry (Tom Guiry) is a tortured delinquent who is a gang member and always in conflict with the law; and youngest son Cole (the excellent young 20-year-old Michael Angarano of 'One Last Thing', 'Man in the Chair', 'Snow Angels', 'Lords of Dogtown', 'Seabiscuit', etc) is conflicted by wanting to be a priest versus wanting to be a professional baseball player - he is the good kid and the last hope of his parents.
Terry tricks Cole into accompanying a house break-in and the trouble begins. The financial crisis at home drives Cole to get a job in a restaurant, and drives Desmond to menial work shining shoes. The family will support Kathleen's pregnancy, but that strips the income to the point that Cole must leave his Catholic school to be in public school, and while that seems to dash his hopes for a career in baseball, the coach at his public school (Finn Curtin) acknowledges Cole's talent and promises a future. Terry's lifestyle as a hoodlum presents increasing problems and at one point Cole gathers the courage to confront Terry during a robbery plot at Cole's work place and Terry is seriously wounded. We discover a hidden fact about Desmond that explains some of his sociopath behavior to his family and it is this discovery, coinciding with Terry's gunshot injury and Kathleen's tough life as an unwed working pregnant girl, that pulls the family unit back together.
If the plot sound like soap opera rest assured it is not. This is an intensely realistic examination of a fragile Irish Catholic family striving to makes sense of a world that is increasingly chaotic. All of the actors are excellent, but the extraordinary sensitivity and skill of young Michael Angarano make this a film to cherish. And Brad Gann is assuredly a talent to watch! Very highly recommended. Grady Harp, January 08"
Horrible...aint the real Southie
An Avid Reader | 05/30/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ok...am I watching another movie than what the previous reviewers watched! This was horrible!! I grew up in Dorchester....next door to Southie and believe me it isn't even close to what this movie portrays it to be.
And the acting or possibly the director is horrible...I mean in one scene the older brother throws food in his father's face and for a minute it looks like the father and the rest of the family are going to start laughing. Come on this isn't real....then the father goes after his son. In real life...not even close. The whole family didn't seem real. The acting was lame and the script had too many cliches. I will say that the accent is about right but other than that....NOTHING.
Also since when is Southie deserted...I saw so many scenes where no one is around. It tries way too hard to be something it's not. Then again, is it a deep dark gritty street movie or a dark comedy?
If you want to see a movie that captures Southie...then see "Southie"...with Donnie Wahlberg. Solid movie and the real Southie. Or how about "Gone Baby Gone" (filmed in Dorchester)simply incredible.
So pass on this one...now if I could only get my $24 back."
Lawrence W. Jamison, Jr. | RI | 04/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a gut wrenching yet heartwarming story with superb acting by most of the cast - real to life. Highly recommended."
sixstring | london, UK | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i consider this to be one of the better films i have seen in quite some time. such a good mix of bright and dark, humour and pathos as real life is.
the bid with the bird flying into the window is worth watching the movie even if you don't like the rest of it.
CAIN AND ABEL!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 06/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Black Irish' is a pretty straightforward film with believable performances by all. The tale of a lower class Irish family with more than its share of turmoil and sorrows keeps it's understated slice of dysfunctional life portrait realistic and heartbreaking. A little independent film that should not be missed."