The Belly of the Whale – Film Review by Frank L.
Director: Morgan Bushe
Writers: Morgan Bushe, Greg Flanagan
Stars: Art Parkinson, Michael Smiley, Lewis MacDougall
Set in an Irish dead beat, seaside town out of season or possibly just during a very bleak Irish summer, a story with many inconsequential happenings tries to emerge. Young Joey Moody (Lewis MacDougall) had the misfortune to have been born in this dead end location and has returned to it having apparently run away from his foster home. He meets up with his old friend Ronald Tanner (Pat Short) who lives in a caravan park and suffers severely from the drink. The other central locale in the story is the local amusement arcade which is run by Gits Hegarty (Michael Smiley) who is a cross between a crooked local politician and a third rate amusement arcade owner.
There is a series of sub plots with other peripheral characters but the main story remains elusive, wedged between various happenings including the burning of a caravan and Ronald trying to sell Gits a load of Teddy bears which have come from China. The strong point of the film is the cinematography which often captures the bleakness of an Irish caravan park on a grey day without sunshine and the tide-battered bleakness of a small seaside village in which there is little to do. It is not a joyous environment.
It was not easy to follow the plot, such as it was, and fairly early in the piece the mind wandered. Disappointingly, nothing subsequently happened which re-engaged the attention.