Handsome Devil, Gala Film Glasgow Film Festival 2017 review by Pat Byrne
Handsome Devil, the Irish comedy-drama was a great choice for kicking off Glasgow Film Festival, 2017
Directed by John Butler, the cast includes Irish actors Fionn O’Shea, Nicolas Galitzine, Andrew Scott (Jim Moriarty in Sherlock) and Moe Dunford.
The film tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Ned (played by Fionn O’Shea) and Conor (Nicolas Galitzine). The former is a loner and unpopular kid at a rugby mad Irish boarding school. New boy Conor, Ned’s room mate, is a serious athlete and star of the rugby team. I don’t want to say much about what transpires after the boys’ initial clash – as I hope you’ll go and see this film.
Another newcomer at the school is the inspirational English teacher, Mr Sherry, (some great acting from Andrew Scott), whose message is to stay true to yourself. He’s the polar opposite of the homophobic bullying rugby coach Pascal O’Keeffe (Moe Dunford).
The characters are all well painted, and whilst we recognise the stereotypes, what could have easily been a formulaic tale draws you in with wit and emotion. In parts humorous, the film also addresses ridicule, humiliation, issues of sexuality and the fear of not belonging, which can be key elements of school life. For a picked-upon kid, O’Shea displays a lot of strength, and neither is the super-athlete Conor, with his brooding nature, one dimensional.
The acting is excellent and Butler really succeeds with his characters; rising to the challenge of making these school boys absorbing. Less important characters are also well cast and I enjoyed this film right from the start, when the reluctant Ned is being driven to school by his father (Ardel O’Hanlon and his cold and glamourous stepmother(Amy Huberman). The quirky but reliable headmaster (Michael McElhatton) shows some depth and an unsuspectedly open mind as the film develops.
Handsome Devil buzzes along at a good pace with the help of a fabulous sound track including The Housemartins, The Undertones, Prefab Sprout and Big Star with Alex Chilton’s fabulous ‘Thirteen’.
Handsome Devil is a marvelous film with a brilliant and totally exuberant ending – I don’t think the Film Festival Gala Goers would be in any way disappointed.
Pat Byrne, February, 2017
This section: Cinema, Events, Fairs, Festivals and Fundraisers, Glasgow Film Festival 2017
- Artists Moving Image Festival The Tramway
- First a Girl, GFT
- Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool GFT
- 2040 at GFT
- Pity Party Film Club I Shot Andy Warhol CCA
- Queer Classics & Matchbox Cineclub City of Lost Souls CCA
- Alan Ereira ALUNA – screening and talk CCA
- Cooking Pot Biting the Hand that Feeds, CCA
- UK Jewish Film Festival 2019 at GFT Glasgow
- Leona GFT
- Depeche Mode Spirits in the Forest
- Michael Hutchence: Mystify GFT
- Havana Film Festival 2019
- Winter Wonderland Christmas Street Party Ashton Lane
- Christmas Tree Light Switch On & Street Market 2019 Glasgow West End
- Mary Irvine: Book Week Scotland 2029 – Events in West Dunbartonshire
- It’s A Wonderful Life Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema Glasgow
- First events announced for Glasgow Film Festival 2020
- Difference by Design Arts and Crafts Fair, Websters
- Julesbasar – Norwegian Christmas Fair Glasgow 2019