Perrier’s Bounty ***
Directed By: Ian Fitzgibbon.
Written By: Mark O'Rowe
Starring: Cillian Murphy (Michael McCrea), Jodie Whittaker (Brenda), Jim Broadbent (Jim), Brendan Gleeson (Darren Perrier), Liam Cunningahm (The Mutt).
British Crime dramas seem to have more a sense of humor about themselves than American ones do. American films take themselves all too seriously and are much darker. But the British like to see the absurdity of it all. The new film, Perrier’s Bounty which is actually Irish, is a movie which is all about life and death, is still fun throughout.
Cillian Murphy plays Michael McCrea, a lowlife living in Dublin. He owes Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) 1,000 Euro, but it might as well be 1,000,000, as he has no way of getting the money. Perrier sends two of his henchman to collect the money, or break two of Michael’s bones -it’s his choice. They give him until the end of the night. So Michael heads out on the town - after stopping by to see Brenda (Jodie Whitaker), his neighbor who he is love with, but is hung up on a jerk. He tries to borrow money from another gangster, The Mutt (Liam Cunningham), but instead gets roped into a house burglary. Complicating matters is that Michael’s estranged father Jim (Jim Broadbent) has chosen tonight to try and reconnect with his son. He believes that the Grim Reaper has come to him in a dream and told him that the next time he sleeps, he will die. When Michael, Brenda, Jim and Perrier’s henchmen all show up at Michael’s apartment, one of the henchmen wind up dead, and Brenda, Jim and Michael go on the run. Perrier wants revenge, and he wants it quickly, and so he sends his men out on their trail.
The screenplay by Mark O’Rowe, and the direction by Ian Fitzgibbon keeps the movie running at a wickedly fast pace. The performances help as well. Murphy is wonderful as a man who gets increasingly exasperated as the movie progresses, as just one thing after another comes at him, and it gets to the point where he can no longer breathe. Whitaker is just the right mixture of confused, naïve and sexy to play Brenda, the woman who cannot see that she is meant to be with Michael, and that her boyfriend is a douche. Broadbent is hilarious as Jim. I normally think of Broadbent as an almost lovable grandpa type, and while he certainly is a loyal father in this film, it is also a very witty, profane performance. Brendan Gleeson is also quite good as the ruthless Perrier. Yes, he chews the scenery, but sometimes scenery chewing is what is required, and he does it brilliantly in this film. From his introductory scene - where at first we assume he is all ruthless violence, and then he reveals his softer side when he finds out that the henchman who was killed was the gay lover of another of his henchman, he is surprisingly sympathetic. He wants to get revenge of his behalf - because after all, love is love.
Perrier’s Bounty is not a great film. It does not really have any bigger purpose other than to be an entertaining B-movie, and it succeeds in doing that brilliantly. While Guy Ritchie has become a little too obsessed with style over substance, here is a film that harkens back to his best work. While Ian Fitzgibbon may have a ways to go before he is a truly great filmmaker, here he proves is a filmmaker of genuine talent and wit. I look forward to see what he does next.