Friday, 14 August 2009

Waking Ned

1998 - Dir: Dirk Jones
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 31st January, 2004

Our main feature harks back almost to the Ealing style of whimsical comedy which "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" blasted into history. It's set in an Irish village much the same size as Feckenham - and with the same liking for a good bit of gossip and fun. So you can imagine the excitement when it's reported that the winning ticket in the national lottery, worth nearly seven million punts, was bought in the village. The plot is simple, but provides a framework for excellent character acting - turning Hollywood on its youth obsessed head, and proving that a movie focusing on older folks can be deliciously entertaining.
Ian Bannen and David Kelly lead the band of mischief makers and Kirk Jones directs with a lightness of touch rarely seen in modern movie making. The beauty of this film is its simplicity - It's just good old-fashioned story-telling. A wealth of charm, clever acting and the beauty of the Irish countryside make "Waking Ned" a heart warming proposition for a late January night out - except that the "Irish" countryside is actually the Isle of Man countryside. The IoM government had been able to offer a better financial deal to the film makers and we defy anyone to tell the difference!
While made to the finest current technical standards, the film does not pretend for one moment to be anything more than it is - a peopled by some gently zany folks who give us gleams of recognition of ordinary foibles. It is the lack of pretence and Jones' light touch that allows this confection to float successfully. (The film was released in the USA under the title "Waking Ned Devine" for reasons only American logic can explain).

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