Between the Canals

Director: Mark O'Connor

While Dublin’s criminal underbelly has occupied many Irish filmmakers over the past fifteen years, this debut from Mark O’Connor distinguishes itself by largely avoiding genre clichés and creating credible and likable portraits of small-time troublemakers. As with Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine – both clear influences – the film’s engine is freewheeling male friendship in a deprived urban setting. The three leads keep the loose-limbed plot rolling through entirely convincing dialogue and a chain of often hilarious encounters as they draw more and more heat from less congenial members of Dublin’s drug trade. The film’s energy and pace belie its micro-budget, while the soundtrack is notable for its use of Irish folk music, lending this portrait of an inner city community situated between the Royal and Grand canals an uncommonly sympathetic and, in the best sense, local point of view.

Notes by Tony Tracy.

For more information on Between the Canals, see this IFI blog from director Mark O’Connor

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