H2N Review: Handome Devil

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Few things can make you feel more alone in this world than being surrounded by people whose priorities are completely at odds with your own. Ned (Fionn O’Shea) knows this pain all too well. He’s the only artistic fellow in a posh Irish all-boys boarding school where rugby is religion. If you aren’t part of the game, you’d best be cheering from the sidelines. And if you aren’t doing that, you’re in for a rough time. But when Ned gets stuck rooming with the new kid, a fetching rugby prodigy named Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), he finds kinship in an unexpected place.

Writer/director John Butler knows a thing or two about rugby fanatics. While the film isn’t autobiographical, per se, he did base the school in Handsome Devil on his own childhood alma mater. Ned is a suitable “every freak,” with a general interest in the arts, minus the talent to focus on any particular area. He gets good marks for writing, but only because he passes off song lyrics as his own. That all ends when a passionate and hip younger man (Andrew Scott, TV’s Sherlock) replaces the doddering old English teacher, and immediately spots the plagiarism.

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Handsome Devil played at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.

 

 

Hammer to Nail Review: Glassland

(The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival started May 14 and runs all the way until June 7. Keep an eye on HtN for several reviews like this one, the latest from Irish filmmaker Gerard Barret).

Irish filmmaker, Gerard Barrett  follows up his acclaimed first feature Pilgrim Hill with Glassland, another peek into the hardships of life in working-class Dublin. John (Jack Reynor, Transformers: Age of Extinction) is a young man struggling to hold his family together thanks to his mother, Jean’s (Toni Collette), full-blown alcoholism. She drinks like it’s her job and so it becomes John’s job to keep her alive and the family above water. He occasionally attempts to blow off steam in the company of his best friend, Shane (Will Poulter), who is going through some heavy stuff of his own regarding his estranged newborn son. Glassland is an incredibly bleak and intense 90 minutes that haunts you for days after. The lasting impression it leaves is especially remarkable considering the budget and time constraints under which Barrett worked…

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