With the summer blockbuster season still some way off, it’s possible that there may yet be a worse film released this year, but they’re going to have to try particularly hard to sink to lower depths than Perrier’s Bounty.
Set in contemporary Dublin, this shockingly clichéd film follows Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy) through 48 hours that start with a visit from loan sharks and end with him facing almost certain death (almost certain, but you know it won’t happen because this is the kind of film where the hero never dies).
The film opened this year’s Bradford International Film Festival and the producer introduced it with a promise of poetic swearing, great acting, and nonstop action. In fact, the script tries desperately to emulate In Bruges but sounds instead like the work of a twelve-year-old who’s just discovered swearing, and you often find yourself cringing at the sight of actors as good as Murphy and Jim Broadbent trying to inject any meaning into it. Yet the dialogue is almost a minor problem compared to the plot, which is so predictable it almost makes you nostalgic for Guy Ritchie. There can hardly be a box that this film doesn’t leave unticked, from troubled father-son relationship to gangster with a homosexual secret, and from hard-as-nails-but-soft-inside antihero to the girl, Brenda, who doesn’t realise how much she’s in love with him (played by Jodie Whitaker with the levels of subtlety more often associated with child actors on Coronation St).
In its constant effort to be edgy, the film quickly exhausts any real interest the spectator might have. If it were a DVD, you’d turn it off after five minutes. As it was a premiere, we didn’t have the choice, but it’s telling that even after free wine and canapés and a trip down the red carpet, the premiere audience lacked the stamina to maintain forced laughter for anything more than ten minutes. If there are some films that inspire audiences to burst into spontaneous applause, this one was lucky to get away with only silence and not a volley of pantomime boos.