Barber – Film Review

Barber – Film Review
by Frank L.

Director – Fintan Connolly
Writers – Fiona Bergin, Fintan Connolly
Stars – Aidan Gillen, Aisling Kearns, Gary Lydon, Nick Dunning, Steve Wall, Deirdre Donnelly, Isabelle Connolly

This film delves into the world of crime and in particular, that of a private detective Val Barber (Aidan Gillen) who was previously a police officer. He makes ends meet by investigating insurance frauds and unfaithful spouses. Out of the blue he is employed by one Lily Dunne (Deirdre Donnelly), a woman of some wealth, who shows her worldly wisdom by dealing in cash. Her twenty-year-old granddaughter Sara (Isabelle Connolly) has disappeared and Mrs Dunne wants her found. As Barber starts to make enquiries, he uncovers an unattractive world which includes a dishonest inspector Tony Quinn (Liam Carney), whom Barber knows from his days in the force, and some middle-aged men of dubious sexual morals which may provide a clue but Quinn, with the assistance of some violence, makes clear to Barber not to keep poking around. Barber ignores the warning and meets a friend of Sara’s called Jane Devaney (Simone Collins). To add spice to the story there is a femme fatale nightclub singer Lexie Finnegan (Camille O’Sullivan) and a corrupt politician Eunan Brady (Nick Dunning). But there is little tension generated.

Barber’s own story has a broken marriage and a teenage daughter Kate (Aisling Kearns) whom he finds challenging. His contribution to this unhappy state of affairs is not helped by the fact that he has discovered that he himself was not designed for marriage as traditionally defined. This collection of personal issues distracts the film from concentrating on the search for Sara. When the film reverts to the search for Sara it moves to a conclusion which results in the detective skills of Barber not being seen to full advantage.

The film is shot in and around Dublin city centre.  Given the quality of his living accommodation and of his offices, Barber appears to be doing surprisingly well as a private detective. There seems to be a disconnect between his work as a private detective and the quality of his accommodation. Unless, of course, being a private detective is a more lucrative occupation than one might imagine. Also, there is little in the dialogue which is uplifting and notwithstanding the location, it steers clear of any Dublin repartee.

While it is enjoyable for a Dubliner to see his city on the screen that does not make up for the fact that the crime story as told is far from riveting and Barber’s private life falls into the same category. The film fails to engage and generates more of a sense of bafflement rather than tension.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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