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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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VAN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The third instalment in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper), this is a story of a friendship between two men and their ill-fated partnership in a fish’n’chips van. After getting laid off from his job, a depressed Bimbo (O’Kelly) has the bright idea to use his severance money (a pittance, really) to buy a disused van and turn it into a mobile fish and chip take-away. He invites his friend, Larry (Meaney) to be his partner, believing they will make a killing during the world cup series, when fans will emerge ravenous from footy fields. The moral of the story is never mix business with friendhsip. The van becomes a symbol of disunity and challenges their freindship.

"Frears, one of my favourite directors on the strength of Dangerous Liaisons alone, seems to have missed a beat here, either in failing to see a lack of substance or failing to mould the form to make up for it. Episodic and somehow under-energised, The Van is a story of suburban angst, where a retrenched worker and his mate try to run a small business and find the strains of working together cause friction in the friendship. Hardly novel as an idea, nor is it enough to sustain a film, despite the fine performances. Neither of the two central characters offers us any reason to be deeply involved with them, consequently we are less than passionate about their venture or even their friendship. Where Alan Parker’s juicy handling of Doyle’s The Commitments gave us a bunch of characters with a passion to do something with their otherwise empty lives, these two blokes are too wet and silly to make us care."
Andrew L. Urban

"This third and final film in the Ronny Doyle trilogy is undoubtedly the weakest of the trio, which began so promisingly with The Commitments. By the time we get to The Van, everything has a certain sameness about it, from the abrasive Irish characters to the film's sharp-edged humour. However, having said that, and taken on its own, The Van is still a lot of fun. It may lack the depth and keen observations that defined both The Commitments and The Snapper, but through the accomplished work of the brilliant Colm Meaney, and the well-paced direction of Steven Frears, The Van moves along with its own sense of comic energy, and there are many moments of sheer hilarity which only the Irish can get away with - and in this film, get away with it they do."
Paul Fischer



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VAN, (THE) (M)
(Ireland)

CAST: Colm Meaney, Donal O’Kelly, Ger Ryan, Caroline Rothwell

DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears

PRODUCER: Lynda Myles

SCRIPT: Roddy Doyle

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Stapelton

EDITOR: Mick Audsley

MUSIC: not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Geraghty

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 7, 1997







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