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I Went Down
Paddy Breathnach's gangster comedy is Ireland's answer to Pulp Fiction, only with less gore, more heart, and bigger laughs. Young Git Hynes (Peter McDonald) "went down" to jail for a crime he didn't commit, and lost his girlfriend to his best friend to boot. Shortly after being sprung, Git runs afoul of thuggish local crime boss Tom French (Tony Doyle, of Circle of Friends), who sends him on an atoning mission with Bunny Kelly (The Butcher Boy's Brendan Gleeson), a short-fused, mutton-chopped, two-bit gangster unhappily estranged from his wife and given to cryptic pronouncements like "No goods, no black pudding. I think you know what I'm talking about." The pair settle uneasily into partnership, although they have little in common besides their troubles with women and their mutual fear of bungling the job, which they do, spectacularly. Breathnach, whose previous features include the award-winning drama Alisa, keeps 26-year-old Irish playwright Conor McPherson's script moving at a snappy pace, and punches up the multiple one-liners with great visual jokes, like an immovably bound and gagged hostage being tortured by an algebra program on the hotel-room telly. Breathnach captures some great scenery -- lush forests and desolate, misty bogs -- and shades his characters, particularly the rockabillyish Bunny, with sharp comic style. A soundtrack that veers from beatnik jazz to '70s dinosaur rock and Irish balladry contributes to the exhilarating chaos.

-- Heather Wisner

I Went Down opens Friday, July 3, at area theaters.

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