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WAKING NED DEVINE

SYNOPSIS:
Someone from the tiny coastal village of Tullymore has won the Irish lottery. Life-long friends Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and his wife Annie (Fionulla Flanagan) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly) are keen to find out exactly who, because it does seem like a fine time to let this person know how fond of him or her they really are. As Tullymore boasts a population of fifty-two, the "whoWunit" quest doesn’t seem too daunting. Nevertheless, they are frustrated by a number of false leads and it proves to be a more difficult task than anticipated. Moreover, a great surprise is in store for them when they do discover the identity of the winning resident; it is a discovery that precipitates them into a dangerous scam that will eventually determine the fate of the entire community.

"Dear Hollywood, please take note. You may believe wit, charm and character to have long been vaporised by the ubiquitous maelstrom of superficial special-effects. Think again. Britain’s Tomboy Films have proved with Waking Ned Devine that humour and emotive insight Die Harder than a shallow action hero or a computer generated android. A very British combination of drollery and warm humanity pervades this remarkable feature debut by writer/director Kirk Jones. His background as a TV commercials director is evidenced by an attention grabbing opening sequence (basically a cheap though effective gag); what is more surprising is that it prefaces a delightfully whimsical tale that is by turns hilarious, endearing and uplifting. The casting of Ian Bannen and David Kelly as the not-so-young protagonists proves to be master stroke. They exude a spritely energy not unlike a couple of picaresque, elderly leprechauns. Unashamedly derivative of Bill Forsyth’s quirky classic, Local Hero, Waking Ned Devine echoes that film’s magical, folk-like essence and its themes of fortune, friendship and small-town community meets urban outsider. But this gentle masterpiece has upped the ante with a brisker pace and more ebullient spirit. Filmed on the Isle of Man (serving as an excellent proxy for Southern Ireland), the cinematography is breathtaking and the gorgeous panoramas alone would be reason enough to see the movie. As it is, there are plenty of other reasons."
Brad Green

"Driven by greed and selfishness, these largely elderly folk in a tiny community can show organised crime a thing or two. How to heist a few million pounds in a sting that actually comes off. And when it’s endangered by an equally greedy old cripple who threatens to blow the whistle for lack of a bigger split, we have the hand of the almighty acting as hitman. Wow. This is a very funny and very instructive film; see it and be richer."
Andrew L. Urban

"This is the kind of film that makes you spend the next week after you see it telling everyone just how damn good it is. The type of film that will really appeal to Australians' sense of unity, mateship and property - or theft thereof. Waking Ned Devine can only be described as a good-natured romp, with such brilliant casting that if it doesn't become a sleeper hit, there is no justice, if you'll excuse the string of clichés. The plot is brilliant and is driven by a pair of beautiful characters in Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan, played by the brilliant David Kelly. It's just one of those stories that, like the spectacular scenery it is set in, rolls about with natural vigour and energy, complemented by a very groovy soundtrack. Writer/director Kirk Jones of Shooting Fish fame has turned what out he describes as a "live action Wallace and Gromit." The chemistry between Michael, Jackie, and Annie is just brilliant and there have been few more believable characters in recent cinema. Waking Ned Devine is not at all taxing but so engaging that another cliché - you'll laugh, you'll cry - can easily applied. Films that are this much fun, that explore the child within ageing people don't happen enough, and when they do it's just fantastic."
Peter Anderson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

See Nick Roddick's FEATURE on how a film about two elderly men can be hip entertainment, not hip-replacement.

WAKING NED DEVINE (PG)
(Ireland)

CAST: Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, James Nesbitt, Maura O’Malley, Robert Hickey, Paddy Ward, James Ryland, Fintan McKeown, Matthew Devitt, Eileen Dromey

DIRECTOR: Kirk Jones

PRODUCER: Glynis Murray, Richard Holmes

SCRIPT: Kirk Jones

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Henry Braham

EDITOR: Alan Strachan

MUSIC ADVISOR: Nicholas Carolan

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Ebden

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: May 26, 1999
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: REP







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