Standby – Movie Review by Eveleen Coyle
Directors: Rob and Ronan Burke
Screenplay: Pierce Ryan
Starring: Brian Gleeson, Jessica Paré, Stanley Townsend, Ian Lloyd Anderson, John Lynn, Francesca Cherrault, Louisa Harland, Norma Sheahan. And Dublin
Things have not been going well for 28 year old Alan. His onetime ambition to work in finance is blown, his fiancée stood him up at the altar, his band doesn’t get any decent gigs, he is working alongside his mother at the tourist information desk in Dublin Airport and living back with his father.
When Alice, a one time love from a summer in Martha’s Vineyard when he was 20 passes through the airport en route to a job interview in Paris. Her plane is diverted, she is stuck in Dublin overnight and goes to the tourist information desk…. And it happens to be St Valentine’s day.
Standby opens with the lads in the band (Brian Gleeson, Ian Lloyd Anderson and John Lynn) paying Jack of Diamonds in the local where Alan’s (Brian Gleeson) Da works as a barman. The banter is quick, funny, very Dublin and engaging and although the story is predictable it cracks along at a great pace, particularly in the first half. Alan takes his courage in his hands, asks Alice to have dinner with him. From there they career through an event-packed evening/night of dinner, pubs, parties and raids. And in between a magical bike ride through a glittering, bustling city. Dublin stars!
Stanley Townsend is excellent as Alan’s Da with his divorced men’s support group made up of cynical poker playing, beer-swilling mates. But his deep felt affection for his son mixed with bewilderment is beautifully played. Brian Gleeson (brother of Domhnail and son of Brendan) is terrific in the role of the sometimes lost, bright but sometimes gormless late 20s Alan, wondering where it all went wrong – You really want it all to come good for him. Jessica Paré as the seemingly happy American girl is a little too Julia Roberts. The city looks wonderful throughout.
Standby is début feature film for Rob and Ronan Burke, directors of award-winning short film Runners in 2010 and The Importance of being Whatever, Best Children’s/ Youth winner in the IFTA Awards 2012. It is a well done rom-com, very local and well executed. It deserves success. There are strong resonants of The Commitments in the music and the wit, and the romance of Notting Hill, but that’s ok too.