Glassland – Movie Review
Director: Gerard Barrett
Writer: Gerard Barrett
Stars: Will Poulter, Toni Collette, Jack Reynor
John (Jack Reynor) is a young man in a working class area of Dublin. His best friend Shane (Will Poulter) is getting ready to emigrate, and urges his friend to follow. John works as a taxi driver by night. His job is not easy and he has no great love for it, but he works to hold together his family. We are first introduced to his mother Jean (Toni Collette) after John finds her unconscious and has to rush her to hospital. Outside the ward, the doctor says that she is poisoning herself through alcoholism, and unless she stops she will die.
This story almost appears to be a fly on the wall documentary, as we follow John on his daily routine. His nights in work and his days with his brother and friends. There are many slow shots where a hand held camera follows him on a series of mundane tasks, washing dishes or driving around various estates. This slow, steady movement gives this film depth and makes the characters and the world seem more plausible.
This is a tale of addiction and the effects it has on those around the user. Toni Collette plays Jean, a woman that thinks she has a right to continue to drink and wishes the rest of the world would leave her alone to continue her routine. John is the one positive in her life, a son that is not willing to give up on her, and tries to help her see what she is doing to herself. Jack Reynor is the new name on Hollywood, with his recent appearance in Transformers. He received some mixed reviews for his performance amongst the Autobots, but he seems much more at home in this story of urban life in Dublin. It is an understated role, other than for one explosive scene on which the film pivots.
This is a well constructed piece of film making that will mark out its young director and writer, Gerard Barrett as one to watch. This young man from Kerry is already know for Pilgrim Hill, and will soon be working with Charlize Theron in Brain on Fire. This is by no means an easy film but it was never aimed at Saturday night in the Omniplex. If you’re prepared for something a little stronger, this is a powerful piece of film making.