Monday, 13 July 2009

Fleadh09: ZONAD

For those who wondered how John Carney would follow the breakout smash hit ONCE, wonder no longer. He's back, co-directing with brother Keiran this time, and while there are a couple of songs present, this science fiction influenced comedy (which has been gestating in one for or another since at least 2003) certainly isn't likely to be put in any of the same categories.

Following a major astronomical event, a space-suited man (Simon Delaney) lands in an Irish family's front room claiming to be an alien called Zonad. He is welcomed into their family with open arms but as he starts to take advantage of their hospitality it becomes obvious (to the viewer if not to the family) that he is not what he seems - and he is not alone.

The Carneys have done a wonderful job of creating their own little universe for this film, a world where people still act like they did in the ideal suburban world of 1950s Hollywood. The film feels like a 1950s sci-fi B-movie crossed with an episode of Ballykissangel (the fact that it's filmed in the same place certainly helps). This is a world where communities gather in the park on a warm summer night, watch shooting stars and wander home together all smiles.

Clashing with this cosy picture postcard imagery is a very modern sense of humour however, and the script is packed full of knowing gags which the audience will understand but which clearly are way above the heads of the naive population of the town.

Such a world just couldn't exist without the right people to populate it though and its in the performances of the cast that the film really hits the jackpot. Delaney is perfect as both Zonad and the morally bankrupt conman behind the guise, playing perfectly off a cast who ham it up for its worth as the unsuspecting innocents and are clearly having a blast. Stand-out performances are delivered by Jenny Byrne as the seemingly innocent but secretly desperately horny teenage girl, Geoff Minogue as her father and Rory Keenan as the American boyfriend out to impress.

It's both a heartwarming feelgood movie and an adult comedy (it's not exactly obscene, but it's certainly not suitable for youngsters) and one can only hope it takes a lot less time into cinemas than it did to finally make its debut.

No comments:

Post a Comment