A working actor before making the switch to directing, Ian Fitzgibbon understands the potential of his standout trio of leads Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent and Brendan Gleeson. Their colorful personalities, dead-on comic timing and lively interplay make Fitzgibbon's third feature, Perrier's Bounty, a funny and fast-paced crime comedy equal to any of Guy Ritchie's popular caper movies. Murphy, Broadbent and Gleeson, who can claim significant profiles thanks to their work in respective Hollywood blockbusters, will also help draw moderate crowds when IFC Films opens Perrier's Bounty in select arthouse theaters and VOD in May. For Fitzgibbon, whose previous comedy A Film with Me in It played select arthouses earlier this year, Perrier's Bounty will boost his profile among specialty film buffs and confirm his status as a comic director with a rebellious streak.
Michael McCrea (Murphy) is something of a Dublin lowlife who stays busy with petty cons and heartache for his pretty neighbor, Brenda (Jodie Whittaker). He has little patience for his hypochondriac and sleep-deprived father Jim (Broadbent) who insists he'll die the next time he falls asleep. Michael owes the Dublin gangster Darren Perrier (Gleeson) money and he has two days to find the funds before Perrier's hired goons break his legs.
Fitzgibbon and screenwriter Mark O'Rowe wisely fill their crime comedy with likable character types: the pretty blonde, disheveled father, menacing villain and the brooding young son. Perrier's Bounty may be formulaic but it's successfully formulaic.
Broadbent makes great use of his knack for physical comedy slurping down coffee grounds in order to stay awake. Gleeson, recently seen in Green Zone, has the gruff voice and physical bulk necessary to make a convincing crime boss. The twinkle in Gleeson's eye makes him all the more dangerous and comical. The perfect balance of likeability and unsavory habits belongs to Murphy as the film's fractured hero. Murphy, who often tilts on the serious side, keeps Perrier's Bounty humming with a playful performance. Murphy also makes an impact with his pale blue eyes, gaunt features and unshaven chin. He's a hipster lowlife capable of warming up his female neighbor...and audiences along with her.
Dublin becomes a significant character thanks to the work of cameraman Seamus Deasy and production designer Amanda McArthur. Its pool halls and alleyways make the perfect backdrop for a crime tale. Fitzgibbon, who directed episodes of the Irish TV series Paths to Freedom and The Clinic before graduating to feature films, and editor Tony Cranstoun maintain a screwball pace from start to finish. Still, Fitzgibbon's standout achievements with Perrier's Bounty are his dead-on casting and his ability to deliver on the potential of his lead actors.
These same lead actors will also provide a commercial boost to the Hanway Films and Optimum Releasing production when IFC Films opens Perrier's Bounty in limited release mid-May. An impressive follow-up to the laugh-out-loud A Film With Me In It, Perrier's Bounty provides Fitzgibbon a rare one-two punch in front of North American arthouse audiences. Next time, these same audiences are bound to recognize his name.
Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Screenwriter: Mark O'Rowe
Producers: Stephen Woolley, Alan Moloney and Elizabeth Karlsen
Genre: British Crime Comedy
Running time: 88 min.
Release date: May 21 NY